For what it is worth, here is a commentary on the mess of the French Presidential Election. No matter what you read about it, it looks like it might be even more bizarre than our recent Presidential election! Quel horreur! Written March 3rd.
Just one month ago, it seemed quite simple: on one hand there was the anti-establishment Marine Le Pen, who has strong plurality - but not majority - support, and is likely to win the first round in the French presidential election on April 23, 50 days from today. However, in the second round she was expected to lose to Francois Fillon.
Since then, things have taken a dramatic turn for the chaotic. For those who have missed the escalation in events over just the past three days, here is a concise summary from UChicago's Daniel Nichanian, who in 13 short tweets has recapped the chaos that has taken place in the latter part of the past week:
- Right's nominee Fillon—ultra-favored till January—announced he'd been summoned to be indicted for giving family members fake public jobs.
- The right's faced complete chaos ever since. Manager resigned; centrist party dropped support, as did many Reps; mountain of anon sniping.
- Some on right trying to draft A. Juppé & collect signatures for him. Poll shows this wld totally upend race—but deadline in just 14 days.
- Fillon's solution? He's organizing a rally against the judicial branch (!) Sunday—he enlisted former leaders of anti-gay marriage movemt.
- Many more moderate leaders of French right are having breakdown over rally, refusing to attend & saying Fillon is using Le Pen's methods.
- All this has to help Le Pen & her anti-system campaign, right? Today, she was also summoned to face an indictment over fake public jobs!
- Le Pen's is a more traditional French scandal—less about personal enrichment like Fillon than about a pol party divesting public funds.
- So now Fillon & Le Pen—uber-favored to face each other in runoff up until January—both face indictments & are campaigning against judges!
- Just before this chaos, the 2 Left candidates—Hamon & Melenchon—broke off negotiations, hugely harming ea. other's chances to make runoff
- Green Party nominee, Yannick Jadot, dropped out just a week ago, endorsing Hamon; a small, tho insufficient move of left consolidation.
- So all this dramatically increases cryptic Emmanuel Macron's chances... while also leaving him to fear 11th hour right-wing switcheroo.
- The first round is in 51 days, & this is all wildly unpredictable. We still don't even know for sure who'll actually end up on ballot.
- Keep eye on clock, on how Fillon sustains omnipresent pressure to go, on whether Le Pen image suffers, & on left strategic voting. /end
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According to AFP, the French Republican party will hold a political committee on Monday, instead of Tuesday, to review the case of its presidential candidate Francois Fillon. While Senator and Fillon’s closest ally Bruno Retailleau say the meeting “has no importance" on BFM TV, some speculate that it may finally force Fillon to step down and hand over the campaign to Alain Juppe.
As a reminder, Juppe was favorite to become France’s next president last year before he was overwhelmed by a late surge in support for Fillon during the nomination battle. With prosecutors preparing to charge Fillon with embezzling public money, some Republicans are looking to Juppe to jump back in to salvage their party’s hopes in the first ballot on April 23.
Meanwhile, more than 60 politicians have said they could no longer support Fillon, who is set to be charged for the embezzlement of public funds despite his protests of innocence. Juppe, the 71-year-old mayor of Bordeaux, featured on the front page of Le Parisian newspaper with a report that he is telling allies he is ready to run if the party wants him. One official who was in Juppe’s primary campaign suggested he is unlikely to return, while the mayor himself couldn’t be reached for comment.
There's more: Juppe's potential return would threaten to drain away centrist voters who gravitated toward Macron rather than Fillon, potentially jeopardising Macron's recent surge in the polls. Indeed, the latest Odoxa survey of 951 people on March 1 and 2 showed that Alain Juppe, who was defeated by Fillon in the Republican primary, would now lead if he was back in the race.