dimanche 14 mai 2017

Election of Emmanuel Macron – victory or ambiguity ?

To begin with, let’s do some fact checks.
This is the second time in the French presidential election history when the electorates had left with hard choice, to win over their difference of political and ideological convictions, and moral dilemma to confront the National Front party, the extreme right political force. In 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a colonialist and fascist demagogue, made it to the 2nd round in presidential election upsetting the then Socialist Party candidate Lionel Jospin. The result of the first round had shocked the French society to its core, and the people united to vote for the republican candidate Jacques Chirac to make barrier against FN, to humiliate its existence.

But there are a number of significant changes appeared in French Society over the last 15 years. The united spirit of fighting National Front has waned.  None of the two main political parties, Republican and Socialist, are in the second round of election. Striking division between rich and poor, resulting gradual decrease of purchasing capacity of common people and diminution of public service system, electoral win of Donald Trump in USA, Brexit have instilled the idea in people’s mind that the Globalisation and European Union are failing. The sentiment of Nation State and protection of its boundary is growing day-by-day. Civil war in Lybia, Syria and Iraq and old French colonies in Africa created a constant flow of refugees adding additional pressure on public service and infrastructure. The increasing number of attacks perpetrated by home-grown and foreign Islamist terrorists have also unveiled the problem of integration of youngest generation of migrant families originated from old French colonies predominantly Muslims in the French society. Unemployment rate in 2002 was 7.8%. It has crossed 10% in 2017 and 23% among the younger generation under 24 years.
And the top of it, the current president Francois Holland has a low public approval rate, far below 20%, which pushed him to abandon his bid for a second term, unprecedented in the electoral history of the fifth French Republic since its inception on 4th October 1958.

Emmanuel Macron a young man of 39 years, no political experience so far, and running a political movement “En Marche (Moving On)”, founded only a year back, ex deputy consultant of current president Francois Holland who became the finance minister in the 2nd government under his presidency, who resigned from the government in August 2016, promoting the politics of neither left nor right not even centrist, which has seduced an important section of political class and of the population, and topped the first round of election with almost 24% of the vote, who is also a divisive character who carries an image of representing big bank and financial institutions, served as an investment banker-director in Rothschild Bank in the past. He is also seen having economic project, which can pave the way for the Elites to control more on economic means thus creating a considerable section of Relative poor in the society.

On the other hand, Marine Le Pen has deviated the Front National party quite a lot from its extreme right and fascist agendas by sidelining her father Jean Marie Le Pen, to become closer to the core socio-economic issues confronted by the common French people, the primary victim of poverty after the globalisation of economy, thus bringing out the party from previously social stigmatisation and succeeded finding political allies. Also increasing law and order problems, terrorist attacks and mass Muslim migration, have also helped rallying a sizeable number of police, military and administrative employees towards the National Front.

Presidential Elections 2002
Total registered voters - 41.2 millions
Voted 79,71%, i.e., 32.83 millions
Blank and invalid voters, i.e. 1.76 million
Abstention 20%, i.e., 8.3 millions
Jacques Chirac – 25.53 millions – 82,21 % (62% of total registered voters)
Jean-Marie Le Pen – 5.52 millions – 17.79% (13,41% of total registered voters)

Presidential Elections 2002
Total registered voters - 45.68 millions
Voted 74,56%, i.e., 35.46 millions
8,51% blank votes and 2,96% invalid votes  (4.1 millions)
Abstention 25,44%, i.e. 12,10 millions

Emmanuel Macron –20.75 millions - 66,1% (43.63% of total registered voters)
Marine Le Pen – 10.64 millions – 33,9% (22.38% of total registered voters)

French electorates had hard choice to make.
Two candidates represent two extreme different interest groups rising from the crisis of capitalist market system, Emmanuel Macron for Globalisation, i.e., further opening up market to private sector players minimizing the role of the State in people’s life and a broader Europe, and Marine Le Pen for Nationalism, a strong State with public services limited to its citizens, and reestablishment of State boundary to get hold on immigration.

Though Marine Le Pen has lost her bid to the presidency in a large margin, but her party’s increasing social acceptance, twofold electorates than it had in 2002, has raised questions far beyond the presidential election as the Parliament election is scheduled in mid-June. At present, the Front National has only 2 MPs among 577 seats. The Republican Party and the Socialist Party are fractured within.  Emmanuel Macron has broaden up his movement into “La République en marche (The Republic on move)” to incorporate people from different political ideas with an objective to win 289 parliamentary seats to govern independently.

But no one can ignore Jean Luc Mélenchon, the candidate of the movement “La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France)”, who came fourth with 19.6% of popular vote (7.5 millions) in the first round, who has replaced the traditional Socialist Party singlehandedly with his hard-core leftist socio-economic agendas which is also a growing trend in Europe, specially in its southern part, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy.

On 8th May, day after the final round of presidential election, a huge march took place in Paris, primarily the supporters of Jean Luc Mélenchon with other extreme left factions and ecologists to voice their concern on the win of Emmanuel Macron, making it clear that his election is the vote of conscience of people against Fascism, not “Carte Blanche.”

The result of presidential election is not clear yet.

samedi 6 mai 2017

French presidential election 2017 : Political disarray in a fractured society (Part 1 & 2)

After the unexpected win of Donald Trump in United States, the elections scheduled in different European countries are getting more attention, as the growing socio-economic crisis has provided fresh wind to the extreme right wing parties and has multiplied their desire to attain the centre of power. However, in recently concluded Netherlands election, the extreme right party could not achieve the estimated pre-poll success. But it will keep its presence felt in the National Parliament.  The situation in France is particularly confusing where the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments are on rise, and in the same time, one can witness a number of conflicting issues taking the front seat of the election campaign notably a striking division between rich and poor, resulting into gradual decrease of purchasing capacity of common people and diminution of public service system, and on the other hand, Brexit has instilled the idea in people’s mind that the European Union and Globalisation are failing. The sentiment of Nation State and protection of its boundary is growing day-by-day.

This presidential election is unprecedented in its nature for different reasons. For the first time in the fifth Republic of France that an incumbent president is not seeking re-election at the end his first term in the office. In 2012, the French electorate had awarded a significant victory to the Socialist Party candidate Francois Holland, being fade-up with 5 years of Bling-Bling presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.  Francois Holland promised to undertake a large number of economic and social reforms, such as improvement of public service system by increasing recruitment in education and health sectors, therefore not to follow the German policy of austerity to get hold on budget deficit. Therefore, he proposed taxing rich up to 75% of their revenue, increasing tax on heritage, and slashing down bureaucratic expenses to fill the State coffer finally to balance the budgetary discrepancies. He also guarantied to put end of job cuts in private sector and obscene practice of handing out golden parachute to the top management bosses.

But, from the beginning, things didn’t happen as it should be. Holland’s declaration of taxing rich sent a red signal among that particular class, many left the country. But very soon, it became clear that Holland is no Hugo Chavez, his words on taxing rich was not even rhetoric, rather impulsive. The government proposed a package of 41 billions euros to the syndicate of corporate bosses under the pact of mutual accountability to create 200 000 employments. They took the money, but the jobs were not created. Big companies continued shutting down plants to shift their productions in foreign locations. Finally, the present administration succumbed more to the pressure of corporate to withdraw the social protection of employees to make them more vulnerable and exposed to exploitation.

And number of international issues like Arab Spring, civil war in Libya, Syria and Iraq and old French colonies in Africa brought a constant flow of refugees adding additional pressure on public service and infrastructure.
And the increasing number of attacks perpetrated by home-grown and foreign Islamist terrorists have also unveiled the problem of integration of youngest generation of migrant families originated from old French colonies predominantly Muslims in the French society. Deepening mistrust is furthermore fracturing the country on a religious line taking into account that France contains the largest number of Muslims in Europe, nearly 7.5% of its over all population of 65 millions.
Therefore, Francois Holland is such a low public approval rate, below 20%, which pushed him to abandon his bid for a second term.

Thus, the present presidential election becomes very symbolic in a sense that for the first time in the electoral history of the fifth French Republic since its inception on 4th October 1958, there is no one either to protect or to challenge the outcome of last five years presidential rule.

11 candidates, 4 neck and neck in the first round of election on 23rd April, and the first two contenders remain in the battle on 7th May
The leit-motif of this year’s election can be summarised in two words - “anti-system” and “alternative”. None of the candidates seems ready to accept his or her part of the responsibility in the crisis of present socio-economic and political system. Everybody blames the existing system. Then who created it?

The media is playing its part in the game. In the last week of January 2017, an alternative weekly journal, “Le Canard Enchaîné” exposed the corruption of the potential future president, Francois Fillon, the candidate of the Republican Party who served as the prime minister of 5 years presidential rule of Nicolas Sarkozy.  Surprisingly enough, in his 36 years of political carrier, Fillon had never been accused of corruption, and known as an honest politician, and won the Republican primary election drawing on his clean image (over Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppe, both have judicial history). Since the multiple exposures of fictitious employment of his wife Penelope as his parliamentary assistant during long years in exchange of sumptuous salary amounting close to one million euros, the story provoked public outcry et tool a popular name “Penelope Gate”. Another alternation online news magazine “Mediapart” disclosed more information on Fillon’s misdeed, irregular employments to his son et daughter paying very high salary, the showy role of his legal council firm in international power allies and his practice of accepting gifts from interest groups. These accusations have dented the image of Francois Fillon significantly who is a stanch promoter of austerity and public service cuts, who plans to abolish 500000 public service posts and encourage the privatisation of the system to embolden the French economy.  In fact, Fillon was getting enough support from the mainstream French voters as the process of “Uberisation” of the French economy is already started by tempting the young generation to work independently.

But Fillon continued to reject all accusations denouncing “political vendetta” of the sitting president Holland and his cabinet, citing that they are trying to pave the road of victory of Emmanuel Macron, ex deputy consultant of Francois Holland who became the finance minister in the 2nd government under his presidency, who resigned from the government in August 2016, to start his own political movement “ En Marche (Moving On)”, who also served as an investment banker-director in Rothschild Bank in the past, a young man of 39 years. With no political experience so far, and a political organisation founded only a year back, he championed the politics of neither left nor right not even centrist, which has seduced an important section of political class and of the population, and he topped the first round of election with almost 24% of the vote over 22% received by the candidate of National Front, Marine Le Pen, the extreme right party. Her party’s manifesto is all about protectionism: anti-Europe, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, and to make France great again by restoration of national border and Judeo-Christian belief where abortion and homosexual marriage will be illegal. The party has garnered considerable support among the rural and working class population who are the primary victim of poverty after the globalisation of economy.  The National Front is founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, a colonialist and fascist demagogue, who made it to the 2nd round in presidential election in 2002 upsetting the then Socialist Party candidate. The party functions as a dynasty, and marred by nepotism and corruption. Same as Fillon, Marine Le Pen is also facing accusations from European Parliament regarding fictitious employment to her assistant of the party benefitting from her poste as a member of EP.

On the other, the ruling Socialist party is completely fractured within, due to ideological conflicts between different groups, left leaning and the right leaning, and the failure of the present government to deliver its electoral promises.  In spite of Benoît Hamon’s large victory, a left-wing, in the party’s primary over Manuel Valls, a right leaning politician, who served as Home Minister and then prime minister under Holland, it was unsuccessful to reunite itself, taken into account that Benoît Hamon had resigned from his ministerial portfolio in education with few other minister protesting the nomination of Manuel Valls as the prime minister.  Therefore, the rapprochement between these two groups inside the party organisation sitting on different poles remained next to impossible. And, finally, before the first round election, Manuel Valls clearly declared his support for Emmanuel Macron to avoid all possibility of a second round battle between Fillon and Le Pen, the right and the extreme right, where one would have to repeat the same scenario of 2002 ending up voting the lesser evil, finally making Fillon the president. But this declaration of Valls pushed the Socialist Party towards further disintegration and weakened the candidature of Hamon who could gather only 6.5% of vote in the 1st round of election, which is an electoral humiliation of the ruling Socialist Party itself.
 
But this year’s election has reserved more surprise and fractured nature of the French Society after the meteoric rise of Jean Luc Mélenchon, the candidate of the movement “La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France)”, who came fourth in race neck and neck to dwindling Francois Fillon with 19.6% of popular vote in the first round.
Certainly, the Media has played a significant role in it, may be inadvertently. This was the first time that public et private television channels came forward with the idea of telecasting direct debate between all the 11 candidates allotting same amount of time to each of them to present their programmes et vision for the future of France.  Jean Luc Mélenchon, who is always an outsider through out his political carrier, served as Minister-Delegate of Vocational Education between 2000 and 2002, under the government of Lionel Jospin, and was part of the left wing of the Socialist Party until 2008, to found « Parti de Gauche (Left Party) », at first the president, and then the co-president of it, until August 2014, and currently un elected member of the European Parliament, has replaced the traditional Socialist Party single-handedly with his hard-core leftist socio-economic agendas which is also a growing trend in Europe, specially in its southern part, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy.

During this election in particular, the 6 others small candidates received considerable attention from the media, and. And the social media platforms have also provided them with the opportunity to express their ideas and intention of presenting themselves for the top job.

Overpowering sense of indecision and rising tension dominate the society as the 2nd round approaches
As it is mentioned earlier that this election is unprecedented in the fifth Republic of France, none of the two main political parties, Republican and Socialist, didn’t qualify for the second round.
The French electors understand it very well that there is a lot at stake in the final round between two candidates who together gathered only 46% of the vote casted in the first round. And these two candidates represent two extreme different interest groups rising from the crisis of capitalist market system, Emmanuel Macron for Globalisation, i.e., further opening up market to private sector players minimizing the role of the State in people’s life and a broader Europe, and Marine Le Pen for Nationalism, a strong State with public services limited to its citizens, and reestablish State boundary to get hold on immigration.

These two juxtaposing forces are trying to reach out the majority of the electorate who are divided into different issues like Economic growth, Economic World War, European Union, French Unity, France of diversity, Dictatorship of rich, Contempt of class, Revolution, Opportunist class, Regression of Public service – Job cut, Public credit – Liberation, Corruption, Religion, Terrorism, Environment.

The political scene of France has changed a lot from its first nationalist outburst in 2002, when all political parties got united to vote for the Republican candidate Jacques Chirac to put back National Front in its place, the final result was 82% for the Republicans against 18% of National Front.  But growing economic crisis has broaden the space of the nationalist forces to grow more and more into a significant political force, and all last elections since 2013, municipal and regional, it topped the first round in half of the electoral circumscriptions (taking into account that all French elections have two rounds). It has thus became a routine call for the main political parties to call their electorates to vote unitedly against the National Front, therefore electing may be undesired candidates to the majority of the electorate.

But during the second round of the present presidential election, things are not working as before, as people are also fed up with the cliché, unity vote against the National Front, taking into account that Emmanuel Macron is also a very divisive character on whom the majority of the French population have no faith. On the other hand, Marine Le Pen has deviated the party quite a lot from its extreme right and fascist agendas by sidelining her father, to become closer to the core socio-economic issues confronted by the common French people, thus bringing out the party from previously social stigmatisation and succeeded finding political allies. Also increasing law and order problems, terrorist attacks and mass Muslim migration, have also helped rallying a sizable number of police, military and administrative employees towards the National Front. Though according to all opinion polls, Marine Le Pen is still trailing far behind of Emmanuel Macron, 40 to 60.  But her party’s increasing social acceptance has put questions beyond presidential election as the Parliament election is scheduled in mid-June. At present, the Front National has only 2 MPs among 577 seats. The result of presidential election may have longer-term consequences.

Therefore, the uncertainty reigns, as there is a risk of huge abstention and blank votes, which can upset all opinion poll calculations.
Everybody is looking at Jean Luc Mélenchon. So far he has refused to give any clear instruction to his electorate to vote for Emmanuel Macron, although citing clearly his opposition to the National Front. Macron represents the big bank and financial institutions, which paved the way for the Elites to control more on economic means thus creating a considerable section of Relative poor in the society. Both Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen have garnered widespread support of the aforesaid section. Thus disenchanted supporters of Mélenchon have very hard choice ahead.

Who will take charge on 7th May to unite the fractured society?

- Jayanta Chakrabarty


dimanche 23 avril 2017

Élection présidentielle française 2017: désarroi politique dans une société fracturée

Après la victoire imprévue de Donald Trump aux États-Unis, les élections prévues dans différents pays européens suscitent de plus en plus d'attention, car la crise socio-économique croissante a donné du vent frais aux partis d'extrême droite et a multiplié le désir d'atteindre le centre du pouvoir. Cependant, lors des élections néerlandaises récemment conclues, le parti d'extrême droite n'a pas pu atteindre le succès estimé avant le sondage, mais il gardera sa présence au Parlement national. La situation en France est source de confusion lorsque les sentiments anti-immigrés et anti-musulmans sont en plein essor et, en même temps, on peut assister à un certain nombre de problèmes prenant le premier plan de la campagne électorale, notamment une division frappante entre riches et Pauvres, entraînant une diminution progressive de la capacité d'achat des personnes ordinaires et la diminution des services publics, et d'autre part, Brexit a mis l'idée dans l'esprit des gens que l'Union européenne et la mondialisation échouent.

Cette prochaine élection présidentielle est sans précédent dans sa nature. C'est la première fois dans la cinquième République de France qu'un président sortant ne cherche pas à être réélu à la fin de son premier mandat. En 2012, l'électorat français a décerné une victoire importante au candidat du Parti socialiste, François Hollande, qui en a eu marre des 5 ans de la présidence Bling-Bling de Nicolas Sarkozy. François Hollande avait promis d'entreprendre un grand nombre de réformes économiques et sociales, telles que l'amélioration du système de service public en augmentant le recrutement dans les secteurs de l'éducation et de la santé, afin de ne pas suivre la politique allemande d'austérité pour se prémunir contre le déficit budgétaire. Par conséquent, il a proposé de taxer les riches jusqu'à 75% de leurs revenus, augmenter l'impôt sur le patrimoine et réduire les dépenses bureaucratiques pour remplir le coffre de l'Etat pour enfin équilibrer les écarts budgétaires. Il a également veillé à mettre fin aux baisses d'emplois dans le secteur privé et à la pratique obscène de distribuer des parachutes dorés aux chefs de direction.

Mais, dès le début, les choses ne se sont pas produites comme elles le devraient. La déclaration de Hollande de taxer les riches a envoyé un feu rouge parmi cette classe particulière, beaucoup ont quitté le pays. Mais très bientôt, il est devenu clair que Hollande n'est pas Hugo Chavez, ses mots sur la taxation des riches n'étaient même pas une rhétorique, mais plutôt impulsifs. Le gouvernement a proposé un paquet de 40 milliards d'euros au syndicat des chefs de grandes entreprises en vertu du pacte de responsabilité mutuelle pour créer 200 000 emplois. Ils ont pris l'argent, mais les emplois n'ont pas été créés. Les grandes entreprises ont continué à fermer les usines pour déplacer leurs productions à l'étranger. Enfin, l'administration actuelle a succombé davantage à la pression des entreprises pour retirer la protection sociale des employés pour les rendre plus vulnérables et exposés à l'exploitation.

Un certain nombre de questions internationaux comme le printemps arabe, la guerre civile en Libye, la Syrie et l'Irak et les anciennes colonies françaises en Afrique ont entraîné une augmentation constante des réfugiés, ce qui a entraîné une pression supplémentaire sur le service public et l'infrastructure. Le nombre croissant d'attentats perpétrés par des terroristes islamistes locaux et étrangers ont également dévoilé le problème de l'intégration des plus jeunes générations de familles migrantes originaires des anciennes colonies françaises. L'approfondissement de la méfiance frappe également le pays sur une ligne religieuse en tenant compte du fait que la France contient le plus grand nombre de musulmans en Europe, soit près de 7,5% de sa population totale de 65 millions d'habitants. Par conséquent, François Hollande a un faible taux d'approbation publique, inférieur à 20%, ce qui l'a poussé à abandonner l'idée de se présenter pour un deuxième mandat.

Ainsi, l'élection présidentielle actuelle devient très symbolique en ce sens que pour la première fois dans l'histoire électorale de la cinquième République française depuis son instauration le 4 octobre 1958, il n'y a personne pour défendre ni pour contester le bilan du quinquennat.


11 candidats au premier tour d'élection le 23 avril, et les deux premiers candidats resteront dans la bataille le 7 mai
Le leitmotiv de l'élection de cette année peut se résumer en deux mots : «anti-système» et «alternative». Aucun des candidats ne semble prêt à accepter sa part de responsabilité dans la crise du système socio-économique et politique actuel. Tout le monde reproche le système existant. Alors, qui l'a créé?

Les médias jouent leur rôle dans le jeu. Au cours de la dernière semaine de janvier 2017, un journal hebdomadaire alternatif, "Le Canard Enchaîné" a exposé la corruption du futur président potentiel, François Fillon, candidat du Parti Républicain qui a été Premier Ministre pendant le quinquennat de Nicolas Sarkozy. De manière surprenante, dans ses 36 ans de compagnie politique, Fillon n'a jamais été accusé de corruption et connu comme un politicien honnête, et a remporté les élections primaires républicaines sur son image propre (sur Nicolas Sarkozy et Alain Juppé, tous deux ont une histoire judiciaire). Depuis la divulgation d'emploi fictif de sa femme Penelope comme assistant parlementaire pendant de longues années en échange de somptueux salaire cumulant près d'un million d'euros, l'histoire a provoqué une indignation publique prenant un nom populaire «Penelope Gate». Un autre magazine alternatif en ligne "Mediapart" a révélé plus d'informations sur les méfaits de Fillon, les emplois irréguliers à son fils et sa fille qui recevaient des salaires très élevés, le rôle de son cabinet juridique dans les allées des pouvoirs internationaux et sa pratique consistante d’accepter des cadeaux de la part des groupes d'intérêt. Les accusations de cet ampleur ont considérablement dégradé l'image de Francois Fillon, qui s'est présenté comme un promoteur de l'austérité et des réductions de la fonction publique qui prévoit d'abolir 500 000 postes de service public et la privatisation du système de santé pour encourager l'économie française. En fait, Fillon recevait un soutien suffisant des électeurs français traditionnels alors que le processus d'Uberisation de l'économie française est déjà commencé par l'encouragement de la jeune génération de travailler de manière indépendante.

Mais Fillon continue de rejeter toutes les accusations en dénonçant la «vendetta politique» de l'actuel président Hollande et son cabinet, citant qu'ils essayent d'ouvrir la voie à la victoire d'Emmanuel Macron,  un jeune homme de 39 ans, ancien secrétaire général adjoint au cabinet de Francois Holland qui est devenu le ministre de l'Economie, de l'Industrie et du Numérique du deuxième gouvernement de Manuel Valls, qui a démissionné du gouvernement en août 2016, pour lancer son propre mouvement politique "En Marche" aux élections présidentielles. Il a également servi en tant que banquier d'investissement chez Rothschild dans le passé. Sans expérience politique, et une organisation politique de 11 mois, il défend la politique de ni gauche ni droite, même pas centriste, qui a séduite une partie importante de la classe politique et de la population, et il est tête du sondage avec fermeté, 24% d'intention de vote, au coude à coude avec le candidat du Front National, Marine Le Pen, le parti d'extrême droite, qui manifeste la politique de protectionnisme : anti-Europe, anti-immigration, anti-musulman, et pour rendre la France sa grandiose de nouveau grâce à la restauration de la frontière nationale et à la croyance judéo-chrétienne, où l'avortement et le mariage homosexuel seront illégaux. Le parti a recueilli un soutien considérable parmi les populations rurales et ouvrières qui sont la principale victime de la pauvreté après la mondialisation de l'économie. Le Front National est fondé par son père Jean-Marie Le Pen, un démagogue colonialiste et fasciste, qui avait atteint au 2ème tour lors des élections présidentielles de 2002 bouleversant le candidat du Parti socialiste. Le parti fonctionne comme une dynastie et marqué par le népotisme et la corruption. Comme Fillon, Marine Le Pen est également confrontée à des accusations du Parlement Européen concernant l'emploi fictif à ses assistants du parti bénéficiant de son poste en tant que membre du Parlement Européen.

D'autre part, le Parti Socialiste au pouvoir est complètement fracturé à l'intérieur, en raison de conflits idéologiques entre différents groupes, de penchants à gauche et d'inclinaison droite, et l'échec du gouvernement actuel à respecter ses promesses électorales. En dépit de la grande victoire de Benoît Hamon, de gauche, contre à Manuel Valls, un politicien incliné vers la droite, qui a servi comme ministre de l'Intérieur et le Premier ministre sous Hollande, il n'a pas réussi à se réunir, en tenant compte du fait que Benoît Hamon avait démissionné de son poste ministériel de l'éducation avec d'autres ministres protestant contre la nomination de Manuel Valls comme le premier ministre. Par conséquent, le rapprochement entre ces deux groupes au sein de l'organisation du parti est presque impossible. Et finalement, la semaine dernière, lors d'une interview télévisée, Manuel Valls a clairement déclaré son soutien à Emmanuel Macron pour éviter toute possibilité d'une bataille du deuxième tour entre Fillon et Le Pen, entre la droite et l'extrême droite, où il faudrait répéter le même scénario de 2002 finissant par voter le moins mal, finalement faire élire Fillon le président. Mais cette déclaration de Valls a poussé le Parti Socialiste à une nouvelle désintégration et a affaibli la candidature de Hamon qui est crédité d'environ 10% de vote au 1er tour des élections.

Mais cette année, les élections ont réservé plus de surprises après la montée soudaine de Jean Luc Mélenchon, lors de récente sondage, le candidat du mouvement «La France Insoumise», se positionne près de François Fillon avec 20% d'intention de votes au premier tour.

Certes, les médias ont joué un rôle important, peut-être par inadvertance. C'est la première fois qu'une chaîne de télévision ayant un réseau national a eu l'idée de diffuser un débat direct entre les 11 candidats allouant le même temps à chacun d'eux pour présenter leurs programmes et visions pour l'avenir de la France. Jean Luc Mélenchon, qui a toujours été un outsider à travers son parcours politique, qui était ministre-délégué de l'enseignement professionnel entre 2000 et 2002, sous le gouvernement de Lionel Jospin et faisait partie de l'aile gauche du Parti socialiste jusqu'en 2008, pour fonder "Le Parti de Gauche» avec Marc Dolez, président en premier temps, puis le co-président, avec Martine Billard jusqu'en août 2014 et actuellement un membre élu du Parlement Européen, il s'est avéré lui-même plus convaincant que d'autres. Lors de l'élection présidentielle de 2012, il est entré en quatrième position recevant 11,1% des voix.

Au cours de cette élection en particulier, les 6 autres petits candidats reçoivent une attention considérable des médias. Et les plateformes de médias sociaux ont également leur donné l'occasion d'exprimer leurs idées et leurs intentions de se présenter pour le plus haut poste du pays. Et les gens écoutent. Il y a beaucoup d'enjeux, Croissance économique, Guerre mondiale économique, Union européenne, Unité française, France de la diversité, Dictature des riches, Mépris de classe, Révolution, Classe opportuniste, Régression des services publics, Reculs des emplois, Crédit public, Libération, Corruption, Religion, Terrorisme, Environnement.

Qui se chargera le 7 mai pour unir la société fracturée?

 - Jayanta Chakrabarty

samedi 22 avril 2017

French presidential election 2017 : Political disarray in a fractured society

After the unexpected win of Donald Trump in United States, the elections scheduled in different European countries are getting more attention, as the growing socio-economic crisis has provided fresh wind to the extreme right wing parties and has multiplied their desire to attain the centre of power. However, in recently concluded Netherlands election, the extreme right party could not achieve the estimated pre-poll success. But it will keep its presence felt in the National Parliament.  The situation in France is particularly confusing where the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments are on rise, and in the same time, one can witness a number of conflicting issues taking the front seat of the election campaign notably a striking division between rich and poor, resulting into gradual decrease of purchasing capacity of common people and diminution of public service system, and on the other hand, Brexit has instilled the idea in people’s mind that the European Union and Globalisation are failing. The sentiment of Nation State and protection of its boundary is growing day-by-day.

This forthcoming presidential election in unprecedented in its nature. This is the first time in the fifth Republic of France that an incumbent president is not seeking re-election at the end his first term in the office. In 2012, the French electorate had awarded a significant victory to the Socialist Party candidate Francois Holland, being fade-up with 5 years of Bling-Bling presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.  Francois Holland promised to undertake a large number of economic and social reforms, such as improvement of public service system by increasing recruitment in education and health sectors, therefore not to follow the German policy of austerity to get hold on budget deficit. Therefore, he proposed taxing rich up to 75% of their revenue, increasing tax on heritage, and slashing down bureaucratic expenses to fill the State coffer finally to balance the budgetary discrepancies. He also guarantied to put end of job cuts in private sector and obscene practice of handing out golden parachute to the top management bosses.

But, from the beginning, things didn’t happen as it should be. Holland’s declaration of taxing rich send a red signal among that particular class, many left the country. But very soon, it became clear that Holland is no Hugo Chavez, his words on taxing rich was not even rhetoric, rather impulsive. The government proposed a package of 40 billions euros to the syndicate of corporate bosses under the pact of mutual accountability to create 200 000 employments. They took the money, but the jobs were not created. Big companies continued shutting down plants to shift their productions in foreign locations. Finally, the present administration succumbed more to the pressure of corporate to withdraw the social protection of employees to make them more vulnerable and exposed to exploitation.

And number of international issues like Arab Spring, civil war in Lybia, Syria and Iraq and old French colonies in Africa brought a constant flow of refugees adding additional pressure on public service and infrastructure.
And the increasing number of attacks perpetrated by home-grown and foreign Islamist terrorists have also unveiled the problem of integration of youngest generation of migrant families originated from old French colonies predominantly Muslims in the French society. Deepening mistrust is furthermore fracturing the country on a religious line taking into account that France contains the largest number of Muslims in Europe, nearly 7.5% of its over all population of 65 millions.
Therefore, Francois Holland is such a low public approval rate, below 20%, which pushed him to abandon his bid for a second term.

Thus, the present presidential election becomes very symbolic in a sense that for the first time in the electoral history of the fifth French Republic since its instauration on 4th October 1958, there is no one either to protect or to challenge the outcome of last five years presidential rule.

11 candidates, 4 neck and neck on the first round of election on 23rd April, and the first two contenders will remain in the battle on 7th May
The leit-motif of this year’s election can be summarised in two words - “anti-system” and “alternative”. None of the candidates seems ready to accept his or her part of the responsibility in the crisis of present socio, economic and political system. Everybody blames the existing system. Then who created it?

The media is playing its part in the game. In the last week of January 2017, an alternative weekly journal, “Le Canard Enchaîné” exposed the corruption of the potential future president, Francois Fillon, the candidate of the Republican Party who served as the prime minister of 5 years presidential rule of Nicolas Sarkozy.  Surprisingly enough, in his 36 years of political carrier, Fillon had never been accused of corruption, and known as an honest politician, and won the Republican primary election drawing on his clean image (over Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppe, both have judicial history). Since the multiple exposures of fictitious employment of his wife Penelope as his parliamentary assistant during long years in exchange of sumptuous salary amounting close to one million euros, the story provoked public outcry et tool a popular name “Penelope Gate”. Another alternation online news magazine “Mediapart” disclosed more information on Fillon’s misdeed, irregular employments to his son et daughter paying very high salary, the showy role of his legal council firm in international power allies and his practice of accepting gifts from interest groups. Theses accusations have dented the image of Francois Fillon significantly who is a stanch promoter of austerity and public service cuts who plans to abolish 500000 public service posts and encourage the privatisation of the system to embolden the French economy.  In fact, Fillon was getting enough support from the mainstream French voters as the process of “Uberisation” of the French economy is already started by tempting the young generation to work independently.

But Fillon continue to reject all accusations denouncing “political vendetta” of the sitting president Holland and his cabinet, citing that they are trying to pave the road of victory of Emmanuel Macron, ex deputy consultant of Francois Holland who became the finance minister in the 2nd government under his presidency, who resigned from the government in August 2016, to start his own political movement “ En Marche (Moving On)”, who also served as an investment banker-director in Rothschild Bank in the past, a young man of 39 years. With no political experience so far, and a political organisation of just 12 months, he championed the politics of neither left nor right not even centrist, which has seduced an important section of political class and of the population, and he is heading the opinion poll tightly with 24% equal to the candidate of National Front, Marine Le Pen, the extreme right party. Her party’s manifesto is all about protectionism: anti-Europe, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, and to make France great again by restoration of national border and Judeo-Christian belief where abortion and homosexual marriage will be illegal. The party has garnered considerable support among the rural and working class population who are the primary victim of poverty after the globalisation of economy.  The National Front is founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, a colonialist and fascist demagogue, who made it to the 2nd round in presidential election in 2002 upsetting the Socialist Party candidate. The party functions as a dynasty, and marred by nepotism and corruption. As Fillon, Marine Le Pen is also facing accusations from European Parliament regarding fictitious employment to her assistant of the party benefitting from her poste as a member of European Parliament. 

On the other, the ruling Socialist party is completely fractured within, due to ideological conflicts between different groups, left leaning and the right leaning, and the failure of the present government to deliver its electoral promises.  In spite of Benoît Hamon’s large victory, a leftist, in the party’s primary on Manuel Valls, a right leaning politician, who served as Home Minister and then prime minister under Holland, it is unsuccessful to reunite itself, taken into account that Benoît Hamon had resigned from his ministerial portfolio in education with few other minister protesting the nomination of Manuel Valls as the prime minister.  Therefore, the rapprochement between these two groups inside the party organisation sitting on opposite poles is next to impossible. And, finally, last week, during a television interview, Manuel Valls has clearly declared his support for Emmanuel Macron to avoid all possibility of a second round battle between Fillon and Le Pen, the right and the extreme right, where one would have to repeat the same scenario of 2002 ending up voting the lesser evil, finally making Fillon the president. But this declaration of Valls has pushed the Socialist Party towards further disintegration and weakened the candidature of Hamon who is credited around 10% of vote in the 1st round of election.  

But this year election has reserved more surprise after the meteoric rise of Jean Luc Mélenchon, in recent poll position, the candidate of the movement “la France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France) ”, closing a dwindling Francois Fillon with 20% of intended vote in the first round.

Certainly, the Media has played a significant role in it, may be inadvertently. This is the first time that a television channel having a National Network came forward with the idea of telecasting a direct debate between all the 11 candidates allotting same amount of time to each of them to present their programmes et vision for the future of France.  Jean Luc Mélenchon, who is always an outsider through out his political carrier, served as Minister-Delegate of Vocational Education between 2000 and 2002, under the government of Lionel Jospin, and was part of the left wing of the Socialist Party until 2008, to found « Parti de Gauche (Left Party) » with Marc Dolez,  at first the president, and then the co-president of it, along with Martine Billard, until August 2014, and currently un elected member of the European Parliament, has proved himself more convincing than others. In the 2012 presidential election he came in fourth position receiving 11.1% of the votes.  

During this election in particular, the 6 others small candidates are getting considerable attention from the media. And the social media platforms have also provided them with the opportunity to express their ideas and intention of presenting themselves for the top job. And people are listening, there is a lot at stake, Economic growth, Economic World War, European Union, French Unity, France of diversity, Dictatorship of rich, Contempt of class, Revolution, Opportunist class, Regression of Public service – Job cut, Public credit – Liberation, Corruption, Religion, Terrorism, Environment.

Who will take charge on 7th May to unite the fractured society?

- Jayanta Chakrabarty