Sunday 15th of September 2019

the big cheese election to go to a second round...


marine versus emmanuel...

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are set to face each other in a May 7 runoff for the French presidency after coming first and second in Sunday's first round of voting, early projections show.

Key points:
  • Emmanuel Macron predicted to get about 24 per cent of vote
  • Marine Le Pen slightly behind on 22 per cent
  • Other top candidates Francois Fillon and Jean-Luc Melenchon likely eliminated

In a race that was too close to call up to the last minute, Mr Macron, a pro-European Union ex-banker and economy minister who founded his own party only a year ago, was projected to get 24 per cent by the pollster Harris and 23.7 per cent by Elabe.

Ms Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigration and anti-EU National Front, was given 22 per cent by both institutes.

Harris gave both conservative candidate Francois Fillon and far-left contender Jean-Luc Melenchon 20 per cent, which would mean their elimination from the race.

Protesters angry that Ms Le Pen was advancing scuffled with police in Paris.

Crowds of young people, some from anarchist and anti-fascist groups, gathered on the Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris as results were coming in.

Riot police surrounded the area and tear gas was fired to disperse the increasingly rowdy crowd.

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24 % de matiere macron...


Final tally of French election: Macron 24.01 pct of votes, Le Pen 21.30 pct

Centrist Emmanuel Macron won 24.01 percent of the votes in the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday, final results from the interior ministry showed on Monday. Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen won 21.30 percent, conservative candidate Francois Fillon 20.01 percent and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon 19.58 percent. Socialist Benoit Hamon won 6.36 percent and nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan 4.70 percent. Among the smaller parties, Jean Lasalle won 1.21 percent, Philippe Poutou 1.09 percent, Francois Asselineau 0.92 percent, Nathalie Arthaud 0.64 percent and Jacques Cheminade 0.18 percent. (Reuters)



Jean-Pierre Thomas, former adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy

The result of this election in France from my point of view is not good news for France, for Europe and for Russia. Mr. Macron, everybody forgets this thing, because the result, the campaign, the marketing, but the fact is [he] is the baby of Mr. [Francois] Hollande. So it will be exactly the same policy… When he was the minister of the economy he didn’t make any good reforms; it’s only a marketing baby of Mr. Hollande.

Europe needs big, big reforms. The majority of the people in France more and more are against Europe. It’s a pity. So we have to reform Europe. I don’t think he is on the way to do it…

For the relations [with] Russia, Moscow, we need to stop this atmosphere of Cold War. We need strongly to stop these sanctions. France needs to be the leader of this diplomacy in Europe. And we know that Mr. Macron, as opposition is completely the same as Mr. Hollande and the Socialist government and are completely aligned with the United States. It’s not good news for international policy today.

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One has to remember that it was Sarkozy who went arse-licking with the Yanks in the first place. Until then, France was not part of NATO. Sarkozy made France rejoin this stupid outdated outfit. As far as Europe was concerned, Sarkozy never understood anything either... Jean-Pierre Thomas, as former adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy, should know better... Macron might surprise everybody, but don't count on it just yet. Fillon was the heir apparent for Sarkozy, which would have been more cruel in the long run, Fillon's chances were hurt by the smell of corruption, including having given his wife a cushy job where she basically did nothing, for a heap of cash.

The second round should be weird, with the possibility of Macron collecting between 49.95 and 60 percent of the votes while Le Pen could collect between 40 and 50.05 percent of the votes... 


Then the German elections...


leaving the hard fromage factory...

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has shocked France by announcing she is stepping down as leader of her party.

Key points:
  • It is believed Le Pen is trying to broaden her appeal beyond the party's right-wing base
  • Opinion polls have consistently put rival Emmanuel Macron ahead for the presidency
  • Le Pen is expected to ruthlessly attack Macron's lack of experience in coming days


Ms Le Pen is still running for president on May 7, but is in the short term at least distancing herself from the National Front party (NF) founded by her father in 1972.

"I have always considered that the president of the republic is the president of all French people," the 48-year-old told French television.

"Now is the moment to move from words to action and it is the reason why it seemed essential to me to take leave from the presidency of the National Front."

The move is seen as an attempt by Ms Le Pen to broaden the appeal of her campaign beyond the far-right base of her party.

One opinion poll has the En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron ahead of his rival by 64-36, while another poll is sitting at 62-38.

Ms Le Pen has less than two weeks to turn those figures around.

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le camembert macron is a bit smelly...

Macron's credo:

1) ”REMAKE THE FAILED & VACUOUS POLITICAL SYSTEM” (translation: maintain the same political system but curtail people’s ability to protest or initiate change)

2) ”RELAX LABOUR LAWS” (translation: cut protection for workers)

3) “CUT BUSINESS TAXES” (translation: make the wealthy wealthier in the name of “stimulating the economy” or some such nonsense words)

4) “REFORM UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM” (translation: cut or eradicate protection for those rendered unemployed by the above two policies)

5) “ENCOURAGE SOCIAL MOBILITY” (translation: give the above jobs to illegal immigrants working for slave wages under threat of forcible repatriation)

6) “CUT PUBLIC SPENDING – BUT BOOST INVESTMENT” (translation: destroy public health, schools, infrastructure and “invest” the money in the 1%’s multiple homes, nuclear bunkers and private planes)

7) “SHRINK PUBLIC SECTOR” (translation: make the above as permanent an arrangement as possible by selling off public assets at ridiculous rates to Macron’s banker chums ) 

8) “REDUCE NUMBER OF MPS” (translation: accelerate erosion of representative democracy

9) “ESTABLISH EUROZONE GOVERNMENT”(translation: one step closer to global control)

10) “HIRE 10,000 MORE POLICE AND GENDARMES” (needs no translation – when you’re destroying people’s livelihoods and living standards you need a lot of men with guns to keep them quiet).


Nothing new here for Aussies, us, and Yankees who have seen what their Liberal (KONservative) leaders have done to erode decency, integrity and hope while increasing fear and uncertainty, while making sure there is no peace possible in the world.

the far left joins the far right?...

PARIS — The far-right leader Marine Le Pen faces an uphill battle in France’s presidential runoff, less than two weeks away. But she saw daylight through a small window on Tuesday, and from an unlikely source: her defeated counterpart on the far left.

Alone among all of France’s major political personalities, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of his own “France Unsubjugated” movement, whofinished a strong fourth in Sunday’s voting, has refused to endorse Ms. Le Pen’s opponent, the former economy minister Emmanuel Macron.

Mr. Mélenchon’s critics say his obstinacy is petulant, wounded pride that can only help Ms. Le Pen’s National Front. But it also speaks to the passions that Mr. Macron, a seemingly mild-mannered centrist, provokes in large parts of the French electorate, far left and far right, who share a view of the 39-year-old former investment banker as a fire-breathing incarnation of evil market culture.

As populism and anger over the impacts of globalization energize much of the electorate, Mr. Mélenchon’s stand has added a new element of uncertainty into the final round of voting on May 7.

Continue reading the main story


Continue reading the main story

It has also set off a dynamic in the French race much like when Hillary Clinton defeated Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primaries last year — leaving his supporters, still in the thrall of populism, up for grabs as party allegiances broke down.


Continue reading the main story

Mr. Mélenchon’s 19.6 percent of the vote Sunday is now a rich booty — triple the score of the mainstream Socialist Party, whose collapse has elevated Mr. Mélenchon to be de facto leader of the French left. He even won in big cities like Marseille and Lille.

But it is not clear where that vote will now go, not least because far-left populism and far-right populism may have more in common than the seemingly vast gulf between them on the political spectrum would suggest.

Mr. Mélenchon, 65, a former Trotskyite, ran a campaign denouncing banks, globalization and the European Union — just like Ms. Le Pen.

A grizzled orator with a penchant for Latin American dictators, he has the same forgiving attitude she does toward the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin

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a vassal of the US...


The “dysfunctional” European Union requires some in depth reform, or France could head for the door, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said a week before the second election round.

Macron, who has positioned himself as a “pro-EU” candidate throughout his campaign, has taken a somewhat Euroskeptic stance as the race enters its final week.

READ MORE: ‘Euro is dead’: Le Pen eyes return of the Franc, preserving single currency for int’l trade

“I’m a pro-European. I defended constantly during this election the European idea and European policies because I believe it’s extremely important for French people and for the place of our country in globalization,” Macrontold the BBC.

“But at the same time, we have to face the situation, to listen to our people, and to listen to the fact that they are extremely angry today, impatient, and the dysfunction of the EU is no more sustainable.”

READ MORE: Macron’s campaign accuses RT of spreading ‘fake news,’ dodges requests for clarification

If the EU continues its current policies, it won’t only hurt “globalization,” but will be a “betrayal,” and “the day after, we will have a Frexit, or we will have National Front (FN) again,” Macron stated, adding that he would dedicate“his mandate… to reform in depth the European Union and our European project.”

While Macron called his party “the only pro-European political force in France,” he described himself as “neither pro-European, Euroskeptic, nor a federalist in the classical sense.”

Macron also strongly condemned Brexit, saying that it had paved the way for the UK to become a “vassal” of the US.

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The UK has done its job, which as the French would say, was to sow "la zizanie' in Europe, one way or the other (whether the UK stayed or not in Europe). At all time the UK was the vassal of the US.


le french socialist malaise...

François Hollande’s five year term as president of France was more than underwhelming, which largely explains why the recent election has seen France’s Socialist Party wiped off the electoral map. During a period of high unemployment, Hollande’s government conducted an aggressive winding back of the country’s labour code – their El Khomri Law gave individual companies more power over workers with regards to hiring and firing, pay and working hours – at the same time as slashing funding to hospitals and healthcare. To Australian audiences, this kind of neoliberal renovation probably sounds awfully familiar; the difference in France is that the country had already suffered from the 2008 economic crisis, and the National Front has been a steadily rising force for three decades.

Even in the home of liberty, equality and fraternity, the idea of a socialist government is a distant dream. Hollande’s Socialist Party caters to the needs and desires of the bosses and middle classes of the urban centres, while cutting ties to contemporary labour and radical movements. Hollande’s first-year term saw the emergence of a mass labour movement against the left in power, the first time this has happened since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958. It is this distance, between the preoccupations of politicians and party functionaries, and ordinary French citizens, that helps to explain the party’s paltry vote – the worst in forty-odd years, following the SFIO’s low score in 1969 (the Socialist Party predecessor, founded in 1905).

Terra Nova Foundation – a left-wing think tank designed to advise the Socialist Party – expressed the break with the working class by suggesting that the socialist party restructure its electorate around ‘cultural values’ rather than ‘social and economic values’; basically a systematisation of the Blairite Third Way.

But as early as the first Mitterrand Government (1981–88), when the left initially won an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly, things took a turn against the hopes and ambitions of radical change. The Mitterrand Government turned to austerity early in its first term. In Le néo-liberalism à la française, Francois Denord writes: ‘From Francois Mitterrand’s electoral victory in 1981 to the commemoration of the bicentenary of the Revolution [1989], France experienced a ‘triumph of the entrepreneur’ and the decline of progressive ideas.’

The turn to austerity slowly eroded the militancy and membership (by French standards) of the trade unions. Mitterrand’s popularity fell, and for the thirty years since, French capitalism – which had held, since 1946, that, ‘All workers shall, through the intermediary of their representatives, participate in the collective determination of their conditions of work and in the management of the workplace’ – has moved closer to the neoliberal ideal, equipped with liberalised finance and privatisations. The balance of power in the workplace has tilted ever more towards the employers.

The party’s embrace of the European Union joined the discredit of the socialist left. The early austerity measures were choices made under the bludgeon of the European project. (Mitterrand abandoned his Keynesian project because it was incompatible with the European monetary system.)

Each experience of the left in government has witnessed another step forward by the National Front (FN). It started with the Dreux breakthrough and the European elections under Mitterrand. More ominously, the FN has experienced its most successful breakthroughs – from European elections, regions and the fight for the Élysée Palace – to date, after Hollande’s miserly economic measures.

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deconstructionism of politics...

We have thus reached the lowest point in our political lives: a pseudo-choice if there ever was one. Yes, the victory of Marine Le Pen would bring dangerous possibilities. But what I fear no less is the assuagement that will follow Macron's triumphant victory: sighs of relief from everywhere, gratitude that the danger was kept at bay, Europe and our democracy are saved, so we resume our liberal-capitalist sleep again. The sad prospect that awaits us is that of a future in which, every four years, we will be thrown into a panic, scared by some form of "neo-fascist danger," and in this way blackmailed into casting our vote for the more "civilised" candidate in meaningless elections lacking any positive vision.

This is why those panicking liberals who are telling us that we should now abstain from any criticism of Macron are profoundly wrong: now is the time to bring out his complicity with a system in crisis. After his victory, it will be too late; the task will lose its urgency in the wave of self-satisfaction.

In this hopeless situation, faced with a false choice, we should gather the courage and simply abstain from voting. Abstain, and begin to think. The commonplace "enough talk, let's act" is deeply deceiving - now, we should say precisely the opposite: enough of the pressure to do something, let's begin to talk seriously - that is, to think!

And by this I mean we should also leave behind the radical leftist self-complacency of endlessly repeating how the choices we are offered in the political space are false, and how only a renewed radical left can save us - yes, in a way, but why, then, does this left not emerge? What vision has the left to offer that would be strong enough to mobilise people? We should never forget that the ultimate cause of the dilemma in which we are caught - the vicious cycle of Le Pen and Macron - is the disappearance of the viable leftist alternative.

Slavoj Zizek is International Director at the Birkbeck Institute for Humanities, University of London, and Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His most recent book is Disparities.

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a woman in charge of france...



Le Pen: 'France will be led by a woman: either me or Madame Merkel'

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...or possibly the wife of Macron... (naughty Gus)...


at the european plastic cheese elections...


Renaissance’s manifesto makes mention of much of what he’s already argued for in his European reform plans. But that was back when he was still giving off an exciting vibe in the distant year of 2017. People don’t get fired up by a European minimum wage and a European army anymore. Particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, centralized minimum wage laws can be seen as a way to crush emerging industries in favor of Western European production. And Macron’s proposed “agency to protect European democracies” would likely be viewed as taking aim at the governments of Poland, Hungary, and Romania.

But Macron’s struggles ultimately start at home. His pick for lead candidate in the European elections, Nathalie Loiseau, is a diplomat and academic administrator. Utterly devoid of excitement, she used a recent speech to give voice to the standard “dangers” of Donald Trump’s politics and liken her political project to the spirit of Gutenberg and Picasso. The address was probably supposed to fit with the “Renaissance” theme. That a considerable part of the country was still putting on yellow traffic vests and screaming their lungs out against the government in Paris doesn’t seem to bother her. They’re probably all populists anyway.

Marine Le Pen doesn’t need to do much ahead of the elections. She leads Macron’s movement by half a point, which would have been considered unfathomable just a year ago. And the more Le Pen gathers steam, the more Macron will lose ground.

Not that we should have expected more from one of the most unpopular presidents in French history.

Bill Wirtz comments on European politics and policy in English, French, and German. His work has appeared in Newsweek, the Washington Examiner, CityAM, Le MondeLe Figaro, and Die Welt.


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