Our columnist Mathieu Bock Côte is currently based in France, where he follows French news from a Quebec perspective.
In a week, the French will head to the polls in the first round of the presidential election. Two weeks later, they will be back there to choose between the two candidates who will have qualified in the first round.
If the trend continues, they will choose between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
This presidential election is contradictory.
The board of nominations and political choices before the French is diverse – in fact, more diverse than usual. The main political and ideological currents crossing France collide with serious candidates, even if they are of unequal value.
Usually, the discussion should lead to their rally.
However, this election is not exciting and we fear a record abstention rate.
How do we understand it? The reasons given are many.
For some, COVID has numbed the political sense of the French. They will struggle to regain their physical health.
For others, the presidential campaign is the collateral victim of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which would have crushed everything in the media, leaving only a secondary place for traditional democratic life.
Emmanuel Macron himself has abandoned his election campaign on the pretext of having to deal exclusively with international politics.
This was not entirely untrue, but some assert, without also being entirely wrong, that he framed his diplomatic work to present himself as the only serious candidate, against whom he would raise the hapless dwarves.
Whatever the case, this campaign is taking place in a peculiar political atmosphere, in a mixture of militant aggressiveness and democratic indifference.
This is not without risks in the medium term. Because France is going through real tensions. The role of elections is, usually, to resolve them by allowing them to confront each other in a democratic way, through debates in which the desire to break down is transformed into a desire to debate.
It is natural to think about the question of immigration, which haunts the country, and to which everyone agrees, openly or from behind closed microphones, when they fear media scorn. The more reactionary version of Islam replaced the French culture, which had become alien to it.
This question is inseparable from the question of insecurity. Some neighborhoods became lawless and non-French zones, all at the same time. It’s not a good idea to venture out there, even less so when you’re a woman.
Other major social issues across the country. Purchasing power is key, in a country that barely experienced the yellow vest revolution a few years ago. The rise in petrol and gas prices, i.e. the rise in energy prices, can provoke new revolutions.
We also need to remember that France is a country with a real tradition of rebellion and rebellion. The French can move from civic indifference to social outrage. In other words, the upcoming term of Emmanuel Macron, should he be re-elected, may be particularly turbulent.
Therefore, denouncing “extremism” will not suffice to quell popular protest.
The era of shortage and rationing
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may mark the entry of a new era reminiscent of antiquity. Suddenly he started talking about scarcity, rationing, possible starvation. In other words, we see a world to come in which prosperity will not be a horizon, but an exception. How can democracy manage acute tensions when the middle classes that depend on it may be called to erode, even disintegrate?
Talking about Laval University
Laval University’s overtly discriminatory practices against white men are starting to get people talking about it in France. le Figaro take care of her. We can expect this topic to gain momentum sooner or later, because the French, in general, are not only conservative but hostile to the politics of racial discrimination, even when multicultural theorists want to pass that distinction as positive. Canada’s reputation was damaged.
two big meetings
On Saturday, Emmanuel Macron gathers his activists in a lonely large rally for him on his presidential campaign. He intends to install themes of an upcoming duel with Marine Le Pen. On Sunday, Valerie Pecresse will rally, in a last-ditch effort to give herself a boost in the polls, to reach the second round. The memory of COVID seems far from us, even though we know the pandemic is ongoing. Life regains its rights.
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