Saturday, April 21, 2007

French elections: an analysis for French expatriates.

George Walden thinks that France is a "vegetating catastrophe". I agree that the country is in worst shape that it seems, especially when seen from outside. But there could be a glimmer of hope if the France that is prevented from working prevails over the France that holds on to its “avantages acquis”. Will it ever happens? French politicians know what to do to alleviate France’s ills, they just don’t know how to get re-elected after doing it. I followed the campaign through soundbites gleaned on the French and foreign press online so that makes me more qualified than the average voter to give you my political analysis on what’s on offer this week-end:

Not sure I understand what his program is about. I know he likes horses and wants a government of consensus with the left and the right. Not a recipe for change to me. But French people love that: more of the same. Likely to be in the second round. Out.

I knew many people like him when I was in high school. They spent their days sitting down in cafes, smoking cigarettes, wearing black turtle necks and talking about how great the communist revolution was. I guess most work for the French post office now. Out.

He has been consistent for a few decades: boot all immigrants outside France. 15% of French people are ready to vote for him. When I said the country was in worst shape than it seems… Out.

Made his political career out of smashing McDonald’s windows. Out.

Mainstream communist party. Out.

Famously said that CEOs of companies that made profits yet fired employees should be jailed. She is a “French Trotskyist communist politician”. There are not enough goulags in France for the program to work. Out.

Never heard of him before. Hunting party (people who like to kill other forms of life for fun). Out.

Another Trostkyist … Out.

The French revolution abolished the monarchy 218 years ago. Out.

Green candidate. Don’t know what her program is. Out.

She definitely campaigns for change: Turning the clock back to 1970’s style of French socialism with a bloated state, massive handouts, more taxes and protection from the “evils of liberalism”. Wrong analysis of the problems and wrong solutions. Since she is one of the top three candidates likely to go into the second round, it is fair to say that her election would probably be the worst thing that could happen to France. At least Bayrou would sit on his hands for five years… Out.

I have being contaminated by the evils of liberalism therefore only Sarkosy’s program seems to make some sense to me (and I stress “some”). Yet I don’t think France as a society is ready for it. Only 36 percent of French people think that “a free market economy” is the best system compared with 65 percent in Germany, 66 percent in Britain and 74 percent in China... Furthermore, Sarkosy may not be the liberal and change agent he proclaims to be and I doubt that he will be able to do much if elected without massive civil unrest. France has the candidates it deserves. Compare to the others, he is still the least worst so I would cast my vote for him.

Et voila, I did all the hard work for you so that you don’t have to think too much when voting this weekend. I’ll watch the results live with the French club at my school. I’ll comment on Monday.

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