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French elections: Second Round Open Thread

by Bernard Sat May 6th, 2017 at 07:29:14 PM EST

What do you know: it's Saturday and voting has already started. Polling stations are open in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French Caribbean islands like Guadeloupe, Martinique or St Martin (the French half that is), French Guyana, French Polynesia and also in various French consulates across the Americas. Situations seems to have improved in Montréal were the voters had to stand in line for several hours two weeks ago.

Moving westward, tomorrow, polling stations will open in New Caledonia, Wallis & Futuna and French consulates in Oceania, Asia and Europe. Polling stations in mainland France will be open at 8:00 CEST (UTC+2) and will close at 19:00 CEST in most places, 20:00 in "big cities". As for the first round, two weeks ago, all polls are under embargo, by law, until the 20:00 closure time. Of course, the embargo doesn't apply to Belgian and Swiss media.

frontpaged - Bjinse


It's becoming a platitude to write that this election is totally unlike any other that have preceded it in the 60-odd years of the French Fifth Republic: For the first time, no candidate of the main parties of either the left or the right has qualified for the second round.

Then, of course, there is the infamous "Macron Leak". While it is too late to have a noticeable effect on this second round, the intent may be well to sow confusion, doubt, distrust and uncertainty in the following months, where the parliamentary elections will take place.

As I have argued again and again, these legislative elections (June 11 & June 18) will actually have a bigger bearing as to the government of France over the next five years.

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In Chicago:

by Bernard on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 07:48:26 PM EST
I was going to vote when I got up. Before breakfast. Instead of breakfast. Whatever.
Then I thought I'd have a look at Médiapart to se what's really happenning in the world. And I gave in to the temptation to watch their 90-minute interview of one of the candidates. Risky... But I've never been a fan of "lalalala I can't hear you".

But actually, I'm not sorry I did. There is meat. And I find myself nodding in agreement with a lot of it. There is a lot of schlerosis in the French system, a lot of inefficient effort and expense that can usefully deployed. The pledge of introducing proportional representation before the end of the year, of giving responsability to all parties represented... Whole bunch of stuff, on a bunch of themes.

It's going to be a tragicomic spectacle over the next five years, watching his best intentions get carved into bite-sized portions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 10:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No idea about the accuracy of the numbers, the source seems to be Le Soir, who announced stupid things in the first round. But for fun :

I particularly like the New York numbers : 5% for Le Pen, in the city of Le Donald.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 01:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bomb scare on the Louvre courtyard:

Evacuation at the Louvre in Paris after bomb scare during French election - Metro

A courtyard outside the Louvre musuem in Paris has been evacuated after security alert at the spot French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron planned to celebrate a victory.

Campaign spokeswoman Pauline Calmes told The Associated Press that the Esplanade du Louvre, in downtown Paris, was evacuated after a suspicious bag was found.

Macron picked the  internal courtyard of the renowned palace-turned-museum as the location for his celebration party.

by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 01:21:11 PM EST
Présidentielle: Macron serait en tête avec plus de 60% (direct)
Voici les premières tendances du second tour que « Le Soir » a pu se procurer à bonnes sources, sur base de sondages « jour du vote »  : selon quatre instituts différents, Emmanuel Macron arriverait largement en tête de l'élection présidentielle, avec un score supérieur à 60%. Le nombre de votes blancs et nuls serait important.

Précision : il s'agit de sondages réalisés ce dimanche. Les estimations sur base des premiers dépouillements ne seront pas disponibles avant 19h, heure de fermeture des premiers bureaux.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 02:37:27 PM EST
Why bother to vote null when you can just abstain and have a beer instead?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 02:43:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps to register your disapproval of both candidates?
by fjallstrom on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 03:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, though it is traditional in France to speak of "blancs et nuls" as being indistinguishable, this is the first election in France where they are reported separately. A first step towards the actual recognition of the "vote blanc".
At my counting table, in the first round, we had two "blancs" (one an empty envelope, the other had a piece of blank paper), and one "nul" (the envelope contained a bulletin each for Fillon and Le Pen, which delighted all four of us).

I'm picking about 10% "blancs" this time, which will be historic.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 04:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From my projections, I picked Macron 81 / 19 Le Pen in my polling place (Macron won big, 36%, in the first round, Le Pen got 7%).

I haven't seen the final numbers -- for some reason, they take hours to consolidate and publish the count we finished three hours ago -- But from the counting sheets I saw, she got less than that : about 13%. Macron about 81, and 6% "blancs".

The lesson I take from this, is that in an area where Le Pen has a low first-round score, her attractivity is lower than it is elsewhere (for example, a lower percentage of LR voters voted for her in my district than nationally)

All reinforces the fact that the FN vote is strongly socio-economic and territorial, and Macron, who certainly understands this, will need to do the opposite of his professed economic policies in order to turn it around.

How first-round votes migrated in the second round (Ipsos poll)


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 10:27:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sticking with my prognosis of Macron 65 / 35 Le Pen.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 04:16:19 PM EST
From RTBF: Macron ahead with 62.5%, according to "several pollsters".

Most polling stations will close in 15 minutes (one hour later in major metropolitan areas).

by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 04:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From La Libre Belgique: Macron between 62 and 65%, according to several French pollsters. First "official" estimates in France in 30 minutes.
by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 05:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Back from my polling station where I was volunteering for ballot counting: 80-20 in Macron's favor, by the way.

The nation wide results are in (estimates as of 20:00):
65.8% for Macron and 34.2% for Le Pen.

Ballot tallying is just concluded in big cities where polls closed at 20:00 so the results will probably still tilt further in Macron's favor (BFMTV says 65.9% for Macron now).

This is clearly a setback for Le Pen who was expecting more than 40%.

by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 08:31:43 PM EST
But she doubled what her father got. Take that daddy! He in turn jeers that Marine can't win but maybe the niece Marechal-Le Pen. Happy family.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 08:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My wife has put French radio on in the other room. Macron is giving his speech.

From a distance, it sounds downright scary. I do (I do) realise that the words are very different. But the tone I hear sounds just like Nuremberg. Those big accelerandos, screamed sentences followed by acclaim from the crowd. Again and again.

I don't think Macron was emotionally stable before, with the exaltation of the election I could all too easily see him totally unhinged.

I will be glad if he does put a lot of PR in our parliamentary elections. But for the moment, France now has for president the guru of a sect created by the establishment media.

Yes, I know, it is better that tonight's alternative. But the whole game has been to plant the idea before the first round that you had to vote for him because otherwise the second round would lead to a LePen win. Of course it would never have come close, but using the scare was how to manipulate the whole thing, and I know all too many people who did vote for him in the first round while hating him, precisely because they were scared of this bogeyman scenario...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 08:53:41 PM EST
He's all things to all people. He's no more himself when he's screaming at a crowd (Hitler on ecstasy?) than when he's fawning on Médiapart journalists, or pandering to a right-wing audience.

Maybe, now he's the boss, we'll discover who he really is. Or maybe he's nobody, and everything will depend on who has his ear.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 10:12:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, the mainstream press is celebrating the victory of openness over closedness, as well as the fact that you can win an election on a pro-EU platform. Here's Wolfgang Münchau looking ahead
It is a common notion, but wrong, that France is an ailing economy. France and Germany have enjoyed almost identical levels of labour productivity for the past 50 years. Both countries have achieved a similar economic performance since the introduction of the euro -- with Germany doing a little worse than France before the financial crisis, and a little better since. France is not like Italy -- which has failed to generate much productivity growth since entering the eurozone. This is why the case for eurozone exit, as made by Marine Le Pen, was not as strong in France, as it will be in Italy.

France, however, has been breaching the EU's fiscal rules. It has debts of 100 per cent of gross domestic product, while Germany is on course to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio to 60 per cent by the end of this decade -- the official, but much ignored, debt ceiling in the eurozone. If Mr Macron has any chance to persuade Berlin of the virtue of a common eurozone budget and a common finance minister, as set out in his manifesto, he will need to demonstrate that he is serious about fulfilling the treaty rules. Fortunately for him, the timing is good. The eurozone economy is in a mild cyclical upswing. There is no better time to consolidate but now. His programme set out a moderately strong fiscal squeeze of €60bn over five years. At an average annual rate of €12bn, this is between 0.5 per cent and 0.6 per cent of last year's economic output.

Germany is happy that Mr Macron won the election but virtually nobody in Berlin is talking about his idea of a common eurozone budget and finance minister. The SPD is more flexible than the CDU but, unlike Mr Macron, is not campaigning in favour of common fiscal policies either. Berlin will soon discover that Mr Macron is demanding changes that the German political establishment has explicitly ruled out. At least one side will end up eating its words -- and both will if they settle on a compromise. (Financial Times)



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 08:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Münchau:
It is a common notion, but wrong, that France is an ailing economy.

Haven't we heard this one before?
by Bernard on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 09:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more about the consistently high rate of youth unemployment or precarious employment. Low paying jobs that somehow require a useless university degree. The dissipation of hope - the younger generation will have it worse than the elders.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 11:23:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then again I'm an outsider who doesn't know anything. Demographically France is doing so much better than Germany (somehow hope doesn't disappear in that area) which should result in  a bigger economy long-term.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 11:25:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All the French leaders have to do is get their heads out of Germany's ass and adopt pro growth monetary policies - and let it be known that they will do this with or without the cooperation of Brussels and while using or not using the Euro. Germany would come around. There is no EU without France and Germany.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 10th, 2017 at 05:32:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, but Melenchon and Hamon were crucified for suggesting something on these lines.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed May 10th, 2017 at 07:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But has anyone been so heretical as to actually poll the French electorate on how they would respond to a candidate legitimately from the left to center left taking such a position. And did the soldiers who crucified Melenchon and Hamon representatives of the press,, the think tanks and the neo-liberal establishment?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 12:14:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least one side will end up eating its words -- and both will if they settle on a compromise.

Au contraire, most people who bother reading election manifestos will expect something of a compromise: the question is, how much influence can Macron ultimately wield with Germany and the Eurozone as a whole?

He can always makes his commitment to fiscal consolidation dependent on progress on a Eurozone budget/finance Minister. The chair of the Eurogroup could fulfil that role, and, to appease German concerns, the budget doesn't have to huge to begin with.  

Spending it to help lift Greece out of a debt death spiral,to assist refugee accommodation throughout Europe, and to counter act the worst effects of Brexit would be politically popular.  

It could be funded out of a Euro-wide "solidarity tax", the proceeds from UK exit or market access payments, or external tariffs in the absence of the latter.  A Tobin tax on Euro currency transactions would be another option.

Macron would have to build a Eurozone consensus to overcome German and fiscal conservative opposition.  That would be the real test of his leadership skills.  Hollande, to my knowledge, never worked particularly hard to build a Euro wide consensus on anything.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 10:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Macron would have to build a Eurozone consensus to overcome German and fiscal conservative opposition.

Isn't Schauble's future financial minister's role uncertain?

And if he's retiring, could he take Padoan with him, please?  

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 07:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect Schultz might demand the Finance portfolio for himself in any future CDU/SDP coalition.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 12:13:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely we remember Sarkozy during his campaign meetings in 2007? Same style, plus the insults, of course.

If you are worried at the prospect of an emotionally unstable and totally unhinged president, you can can be thankful you're not a US citizen.

by Bernard on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 08:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am. Oh, how I am!

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 09:04:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, French voters, for not being taken in like we idiot Americans were.
by asdf on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 09:04:20 PM EST
Oh come come, the worst is yet to come.  The Emperor is only getting started. People talk about the 2020 election.  You won't recognize the country by then.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 11:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to hear from you again, asdf!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 12:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 11:58:40 AM EST
Bernard, Cyrille, Generic or Eurogreen:

Would any or all of you be up for doing a diary on the main points of Macron's policy programme?  MSM articles give only the barest outline and focus on personalities and polls rather than substance. It seems important that we try to work out his likely actual impact on EU politics and beyond.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 05:25:05 PM EST
Today is a holiday in France, but I'm back at work tomorrow, so I can't promise anything; probably in a week or two.
by Bernard on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 05:39:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes this would be interesting.
So far the only noteworthy snippets making it into my bubble are that he's gung-ho green economy and small-to-medium businesses.
So far, so MV5, ;)
Here's something someone here will likely know.
Is it true that he was the only finance minister in all Europe to not vote for gutting Greece?
If so that would be noteworthy, as indeed would be a comment on that decision from where he stands now.
If here were going to try and get votes for 'compassionate finance' (TM) he didn't use it to show how different or progressive he was while campaigning.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 07:44:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yanis Varoufakis endorsed him for coming to Greece's aid, but he was only the Economics, not the Finance Minister.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 12:16:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My disagreements with Macron are legion; but our points of agreement are also important. We agree that the eurozone is unsustainable, but disagree about what should be done before the EU can put political union on the table. We agree that the single-minded pursuit of competitiveness is turning Europe into a zero-sum, beggar-thy-neighbour game, but disagree about how to bring about the large-scale investment needed to improve productivity.

We agree that precarious, gig-economy labour is gangrene for social welfare, but we (strongly) disagree about how to extend protection to casual workers without casualising protected workers. We agree on the need to forge a proper European banking union, but disagree on the need to put the financial genie back in its bottle. Above all, I lack evidence to convince my comrades at DiEM25, the Democracy in Europe Movement, to trust Macron's capacity and willingness to clash with an establishment that is pursuing the failed policies that have fed support for Le Pen.

Trust. Sure. Convinced. Not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 05:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no proof he actually spoke up to anyone other than Varoufakis...

But I have heard him say that the Greek debt needs to be restructured and reduced. But he was speaking to left-wing journalists. I'll believe him when he says the same thing to Le Figaro.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 05:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm struggling to see the parallels between Macron and 5 Stelle. He's not even populist -- Mélenchon and Le Pen have that angle covered -- he just managed to create a buzz, he's the startup, the consumer product of the year. Green, he is not (he will probably be less worse than his predecessors in starting to reverse French backwardness in green investment. No more than that). And an outsider, a rebel? Did you buy that? Admit you weren't paying attention... No, he has brilliantly succeeded in a leveraged buyout, from the inside.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 06:12:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why I said snippets. There are no other similarities, and I trust macron as much as I did Cameron when he was campaigning on Greening Britain.
I have been paying some attention... ;)
I saw him trying to out-emote TV evangelists in one speech, worthy of the anti-Oscars nomination for transparent inauthenticity while on the job.
So no, i have no naive hopes that he will be other than a GM hybrid of Hollande and Renzi.
I am willing to be surprised though, these are strange days, and any moves towards a green direction in a land dominated by aging nuke plants would not be amiss, methinks.
Bet on it? No way!
Small and medium enterprises, well somehow I have a few doubts about his sincerity on this one too.
Nice to be wrong!
Tasking of Mv5*, they are still polling higher than anyone else, and there are faint noises of -finally, (if it's not another Renzi's feint) sorting out an electoral law worthy of the name.
There has been a wave of democracy-envy here lately seeing France, and now England and soon Germany.
If it weren't for MV5* politics in Italy would be the same necrotic combo of moribund and baroque. They have really shaken things up, and continue to do so, notwithstanding the vile low-level continual onslaught of wildly unfair media bias against them, orchestrated by the bloated megalomaniac Renzi, who just won a primary and is thus full of his delusionally jerky, perky self again.
I hope he gets the third big slapdown he's begging for, after losing the regional elections, then the referendum.
Mr Charisma is getting cornered by increasing scandals involving possible mob connections with the immigration business and copious doses of jiggery-pokery with bankster buddies, bailouts, Alitalia on life support, and worry that his placeholder Gentiloni won't necessarily be in a hurry to vacate his position, especially as he is a lot less of an international embarrassment than his predecessor.
A bit of an empty suit, but a tangible relief after mountebanks (!) like Renzusconi.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 09:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls (who resigned in order to run for President) announced he would be seeking Macron's EM nomination for a parliamentary seat.

Today, La République En Marche [The Walking Republic] announced that he didn't meet their criteria, but that they would not run a candidate against him. Probably.

[I see on your résumé that you resigned from your previous position for a personal project. How did that work out?]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 07:57:51 PM EST


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