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Macron Surges in the Polls

by Zwackus Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 01:28:13 AM EST

According to the press narrative, a "vibrant" and "enthusiastic" and "energetic" Emmanuel Macron is rising in the polls and challenging the nationalist and nativist mood.

What have we here?

Promoted - Frank Schnittger

The media seems enthusiastic.

France 24 -- Pro-EU Macron surges in French election polls

Foreign Policy -- The English-Speaking, German-loving, French politican the EU has been waiting for

The Guardian -- French progressives dare to hope as maverick Macron surges in polls

Oooh, he's even a maverick! He's neither right nor left! He used to be an investment banker! He styles himself as a progressive, without any of those pesky progressive economic ideas. One can almost feel the drool.

From one angle, this looks a bit like the Obama phenomenon -- a mainstream neoliberal politician is unusally young and inspiring and sells the message of hope and positivity in a dark time. However, Macron's "more Europe!" message is a lot more substantial than "Hope," at least in the current context.

Then again, achieving any sort of "more Europe" is awfully hard, given the cooperation necessary to make anything happen. It would also be notable at this historical moment for a politican to win big on a pro-Europe message, given the trends lately.


On the topic of the french election, we have this on the ... well, I can't really call the French socialist party left ... but ...

Candidates spar over labour law in first French left-wing presidential debate

Former French prime minister Manuel Valls on Thursday defended a controversial labour reform passed under his tenure as he squared off against other left-wing presidential hopefuls in a televised debate.

Seven candidates vying for France's left-wing presidential nomination presented the main points of their campaigns as they faced off in the first of four primary debates.

Former government ministers Arnaud Montebourg and Benoit Hamon said they would repeal the law allowing French companies to fire workers more easily, forcing Valls - the touted frontrunner in the race - into a defensive stand.

"[The law] was not debated by the unions and it was not debated by the parliament, because it was forced through," Montebourg said, taking aim at Valls for bypassing lawmakers in July. "It's impossible to pass a law for 29 million workers without consulting with their representatives in the unions or in parliament."

"Repeal what exactly, the right for workers to negotiate in their companies?" Valls heatedly shot back, insisting that several provisions, including the so-called "right to disconnect", remained popular measures.

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 01:34:57 AM EST
All of the candidates in the PS primary, with the exception of Valls, are to the left of Macron.

It's likely that Montebourg or Hamon will win the primary (whichever of the two comes second behind Valls in the first round). I'm torn between thinking that this is a bad thing (best for the PS to die in the centrist swamp) and a good thing, if it's Hamon at least, because the PS remains a powerful machine.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 05:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gut feeling tells me Benoît Hamon has been running an excellent campaign, and his propositions are excellent. And it turns out that in the most recent poll, he may arrive second behind Valls, and beat him in the second round. So I'm not making it up...

Snide note : it looks like Hollande's decision to send Vincent Peillon into the primary as his proxy, is having its intended effect : to sabotage Valls.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 05:54:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other news, Marie LePen decides to try the coffee at Trump Tower. Maybe she also had a taco bowl. Who knows.

France's LePen has coffee at Trump tower ... but Trump won't see her

French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen was spotted at Trump Tower on Thursday, but a spokesman for the US president-elect said she would not be meeting him - nor any members of his transition team.

The National Front leader, who has been lavish in her praise of Trump, was seen having coffee at Trump Ice Cream Parlor on the Manhattan tower's ground floor.

She was in the company of three men including her partner Louis Aliot, the party's vice-president. It was not clear what the purpose of their visit was.

Sean Spicer, Trump's pick for White House press secretary, said Le Pen was not scheduled to meet with the president-elect or anyone on his team.

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 01:37:56 AM EST
It must have been a bit humiliating for her to take the trouble to fetch up at Trump Tower to be met by precisely no one after all the lavish praise and exposure given to Farage. Could it be that Trump hates all "Frenchies" regardless of their politics? Doe he eat "Freedom Fries" despite having claimed to oppose the Iraq war? He certainly missed an opportunity to make more mischief especially after his comments on Brexit and German/Mexican car imports. Perhaps he just didn't see a percentage in it for him.  He is nothing if not focused on his own importance...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 01:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After the US, far right says 2017 will be the year Europe wakes up
France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called on voters across Europe to "wake up" and follow the example of US and British voters.

Speaking at an unprecedented meeting in Germany of Europe's rightwing populist parties, she said Brexit would unleash an unstoppable wave of "all the dominoes of Europe". And after Brexit, she added, before an audience of several hundred, the election of Donald Trump was a "second coup".

"His position on Europe is clear. He does not support a system of the oppression of peoples," she said, to enthusiastic applause. "2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. I am certain 2017 will be the year when the people of continental Europe wake up."

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 08:51:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then there is this guy, who seems convinced that the way to beat an extremist radical party is to adopt all of their core postiions.

French presidential candidate Fillon promises crackdown on immigration

France's presidential election frontrunner Francois Fillon vowed on Wednesday to take back control of immigration including by imposing quotas on non-European Union nationals as he looks to win votes from the far-right National Front party.

Immigration and security are key issues in the campaign for this year's vote with the leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, promising to be tough on immigration, radical Islam and to exit the EU's border-free area.

Fillon is seen beating Le Pen if they meet in a runoff vote in May in the election and was campaigning on Wednesday in south-eastern France, a region where Le Pen has garnered support largely down to her stance on immigration and Islam.

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 01:40:53 AM EST
Hrmn, a bit of garden variety right-wing corruption at work? Well, it's okay if you're a conservative, I figure.

France's Fillon acts to head off scandal over wife's work

By Richard Balmforth

PARIS (Reuters) - The frontrunner in France's presidential election race, conservative Francois Fillon, acknowledged on Tuesday that his wife had worked for him when he was a legislator, but denied a media report that she had been paid for fictitious employment.

Fillon, 62, a former prime minister who is tipped to win the presidency in May, acted quickly to dampen possible scandal after a satirical weekly reported that Penelope Fillon had drawn about 500,000 euros ($536,300) in salary over eight years for working as an assistant to her husband when he was a lawmaker in the National Assembly and later to the man who replaced him.

It is not illegal for French parliamentarians to employ a family member in their office.

However, Le Canard Enchaine, a highly popular satirical newspaper which has been lifting the lid on scandal in high places in France for decades, said its reporters had found practically no sign that Penelope Fillon had actually done any work.

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 01:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw the latest polls this morning, and then FT's take on it:

Macron's rise changes odds in French election race

In a country targeted by Islamist extremists and where FN leader Marine Le Pen is predicted to qualify for the second round of the presidential elections on an identity and security platform, Mr Macron has confounded political analysts by focusing on the economy and a promise to revive France's social mobility.

In the process he has electrified the French presidential campaign. Surveys indicate that Mr Macron, a former economy minister running as an independent, has emerged as the third man in the contest behind Ms Le Pen and centre-right candidate François Fillon -- and can even hope to qualify for May's run-off between the two leading first-round candidates.

I am particularly sensible to Macron's message on the labour market and the younger generation. The question is how he exactly wishes to solve the issue. Simply shifting unemployment to the more experienced workers is not a solution.

Overall, I would rather have Fillon vs. Macron than Fillon vs. Le Pen. According to the polls, if Valls wins the primary, then neither he nor Macron will make it to the second round in May. So mixed feelings at this stage, I fell closer to Valls, but it is better for France and Europe if Macron beats Le Pen in the first round.


by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 08:08:06 AM EST
He's just a euro-liberal, squarely in the ALDE frame in the EU context, and although he keeps claiming he's the candidate with the ideas, he hasn't unveiled anything new, nor will he.
Thomas Piketty takes him down nicely here.

Is he better than the right or the far right? Well, duh. That's not a high bar. But to have the slightest chance of being in the second round, he has to completely deflate the left vote, which is possible but not likely. Current polling putting the PS candidate at 6 or 7% (or 10% if it's Valls) is not useful, because of limited name recognition, but the designated candidate will pull a lot of support back over the campaign.

And whatever PS voters may do, Melenchon's voters are not going to pull up stakes and switch to Macron. Not in the first round.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 06:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Macron surge appears an attempt to build a surge by claiming a surge. Looking at the polls on Wikipedia, Macron only increases slightly and gets good numbers if Valls loses the primary and Bayrou doesn't run. But that is not a surge, it is a scenario.

Why are Montebourg and Hamon polling so badly in general election polls btw? Lower name recognition then Valls?

by fjallstrom on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 09:00:33 AM EST
While the right wing primary was concluded last November with François Fillon emerging as the LR candidate, the PS primaries haven't started yet: first round is next Sunday 22nd and the second round on Sunday 29th. Only then will the PS candidate be known.
Their presence in the presidential (not general, that comes later in June) election polls is affected by this uncertainty: maybe none of them will run; we won't know until 11 days from now.

Also, it's true that Montebourg and Hamon have less name recognition than Valls: they both left the government in 2014, three years ago (I had to look Hamon's Wiki page because I didn't remember which ministry he was running), and have been absent of the national political scene while Valls has been prime minister until last month. So, yes, that's also a difference.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 08:16:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So one way of looking at the newspaper claims of a Macron surge is that he needs a surge to establish himself as the foremost candidate of the left-of-republicans before the PS primary ends and the PS enters the election for real.

It also decreases the space for Bayrou, who appears to be on the fence on wheter to run or not.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for answering my prayers. I hadn't seen this diary when I wrote that comment and I've been hoping that someone would cover French and German elections. Macron seems the great European white hope, but its hard to make out from this remove whether he is all style and little substance and what his real chances of election are like.  However it is refreshing to have someone stand on a pro-EU ticket for once!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 12:25:26 PM EST
For those who don't read French, it was difficult to learn anything about Macron until recently. But yes, he is a French media darling (same class, same privileged background, same neolib ideas) and now, the foreign media is happily following suit.

Yes, he's pro-EU, like Hollande, like Sarkozy, like Merkel, like Verhofstadt and like François Fillon.

Cyrille calling him a neo-Blairite is quite on the spot: he's trying to look as a progressive but all his policies are firmly on the right side and not far from the Brussels consensus. ALDE would be his best fit in the EP.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 08:37:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My reading of the polls is that Fillon and Le Pen have both been polling fairly consistently around the 25% mark with Macron rising from about 15% to join them on c. 25%. Valls and Mélenchon are the also rans at 10-15% with perhaps more upside for Valls as his Socialist Party rivals are eliminated.

In the second round of voting Fillon and Macron beat Le Pen by in excess of 60-40 while even Valls would beat her in a tighter race.  Macron beats Fillon in a tight race if that is the final match up.  So it all seems to hinge around whether Macron can maintain his "surge" by consolidating his centrist/pro EU support base and then beat Le Pen or Fillon with the support of socialist party voters.  

But How will Trump/Brexit influence the vote,and can we trust even poll aggregate figures these days?  

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 01:38:02 PM EST
Looking at the polls were Valls is the PS candidate, Macron has increased from 13-15 to 16-18. An increase but far from 25. The only polls that gets him near 25 has both Valls losing the primary and Bayrou dropping out.

So it's less a question if he can sustain a surge and more a question of if his competitors are nice enough to clear the center for him.

On content, he is pro-EU and pro the economics that is tipping EU apart. Better than LePen or Fillon, but that's just about it.

by fjallstrom on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 02:44:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know to what extent French voters vote tactically in the first round, but if it becomes clear that the real choice is between Fillon and Le Pen in the second round, or between Macron and either le Pen or Fillon in the second round will many left leaning voters be tempted to vote Macron rather than Valls or Mélenchon in order to increase his chances of making the second round? Fillon seems to be competing directly with Le Pen for the hard right vote.  Does that mean moderate conservatives might switch to Macron?

It seems vital to Macron's chances that his "surge" is perceived to continue and that he represents the best bet for those who don't want a hard right President in France. But can left-wing, centrist, and moderate right voters really unite behind one candidate in the first round?  It seems a long shot, and Fillon vs. Le Pen seems the most likely second round match up.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 03:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would hurt mightily to have to vote for Macron, whom I believe -on top of his being a privileged neo-Blairite- not to be entirely sane (I find his exalted rallies rather worrying).

But at least I would not want to abstain in the second round.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For 35 years, French voters were not "voting tactically" in the first round of the presidential election, choosing their preferred left or right wing candidate, confident that the second round would always end up as a runoff between a PS candidate and a RPR/UMP candidate. And that was that.

Then, came April 21, 2002: some say there was too many left wing candidates that splintered the vote, but Jean Marie Le Pen edged slightly above sitting PS prime minister Lionel Jospin by a fraction of a percentage to face Chirac in the second round (and Chirac was re-elected handily).

So yes, people on the left may think harder: what is the best way to avoid a Fillon/Le Pen second round? Too early to tell.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 08:26:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is exactly the kind of dilemma I would find myself in were I a French elector.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 07:23:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seeing how Macron's "surge" is mostly a scenario where the neoliberal on economics and social liberal lane is cleared (and friendly media), is there any chance of the smaller left-wing parties realising that they have no chance, but Mélenchon actually has a shot and does a deal with him?

Ministerial seats or policy positions can be pretty cheap when power is a long shot anyway. If they did that should give Mélenchon a similar "surge".

by fjallstrom on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 01:38:42 PM EST
By the same logic Macron could offer left wing and Socialist Party candidates cabinet positions thereby providing some reassurance to those worried that he might dismantled the welfare state and helping to Unify all non-hard right forces behind him.  For any such strategy to work the lead candidate has to be well in front of the others for them to realise their best shot at implementing their policies is to settle for a lesser post under a candidate with a good chance of winning.  

However the larger question is whether the left and centre are large enough and unified enough to produce a majority.  The more likely scenario, it seems to me, given the degree of fracture on the left, even if Macron or a left wing/socialist party candidate makes the second round, is that supporters of Le Pen would rally behind Fillon or vice versa in the second round.

I suggest the only chance for a non-hard right winner is if Le Pen succeeds in uniting everyone else against her in the second round.  Given the left is unlikely to rally behind Fillon, and Fillon supporters are unlikely to rally behind a left wing candidate, that leaves Macron in the best position of  offering himself as an alternative to Le Pen (and Fillon in the first round).

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 02:40:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to be clear: Fillon is not an alternative to a hard-right winner.

Actually, if he were, then there would not be a serious risk of a hard-right winner. But he is not, and thus alas it is almost a certainty.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 04:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why I am trying to find a scenario which would allow someone other than Le Pen and Fillon to make it to the second round. This requires, firstly, that the left and centrist vote is not so fractured that none of their candidates make it to the second round.  And secondly it requires that if someone other than Le Pen and Fillon makes it to the second round, that they can unite the bulk of the left and centrist vote behind them.  Both tall orders, I would have thought (from afar).

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 05:01:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree that that's the only chance. Looking at the polls for the second round, everybody beats Le Pen. Well, Hollande was tied (iirc) but then again he has a extremely low approval rating, so I think that reflects the break down of the voters who dislike both. Otherwise Le Pen polls 30-45% in the polls I can see on Wikipedia (and the higher numbers are not from the last year).

So I more think that whoever meets Le Pen will win.

by fjallstrom on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 06:19:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a few things to keep in mind:

Only the first two candidates at the end of the first round do qualify for the second round in May. In all the polls you refer to on Wiki (the French language page is more up to date), Macron never makes it to the second round (except in one corner case: Montebourg as the PS candidate - won't happen). So, fat lot of good does it do to Macron's candidacy if he can't proceed past the first round. This is what Daniel Schneidermanw has pointed out: pollsters name Macron as the winner while the very same poll shows no chance of qualifying for the second round.

The other point is that Macron candidate is largely a creation of the media who have all been fawning over him even before he announced he would be running (and even foreign media apparently). This has generated a lot of frothiness and we should be well advised not to get taken into it.

After all, let's not forget he was Hollande's adviser at the Elysée for a couple of years and then Economy Minister where he deregulated a lot of things, endearing him to right wing bosses who love neolib "reform". Again, as Schneiderman writes, maybe Macron, "the candidate of blissful globalization, the candidate of Brussels and banks, would be the second round opponent Marine Le Pen is dreaming about".

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 07:54:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What Bernard says.

(Including the reference to the excellent Daniel Schneidermann).

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 07:05:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So we must reconcile ourselves to the second round being between Le Pen and Fillon, or is there a realistic chance that some other candidate (besides Macron) will make it into the second round?

This feels a bit like the Bernie/Hillary battle.  Progressives wanted Bernie, and had great difficulty reconciling themselves to Hillary. So Hillary failed to get out the Dem vote and Trump won.

I know the current polls show Fillon beating Le Pen by a large margin,  They also showed everyone beating Trump.  But if Fillon fails to get out any but the neo-liberal vote (as I expect), does that mean Le Pen wins?  I could even see Le Pen winning much of the leftist anti-globalisation vote as well as tapping into a populist anti-establishment meme.

So will Le Pen eventually Trump all?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 11:08:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know the current polls show Fillon beating Le Pen by a large margin,  They also showed everyone beating Trump.

France, unlike the US, is a democracy. The national polls showed Clinton beating Trump, which she did. If the national polls in France as as accurate as the US ones were, Fillon will win.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 11:45:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Pen would not win.
But that is likely to be even worse. Le Pen would be a major embarrassment for France - but it would lead to gridlock. There is absolutely no chance that the FN could win the legislative elections, so the prime minister would make a point of standing up to her every step of the way.

Fillon would almost certainly have a majority everywhere (the Senate's system strongly skews it towards the right, and they will run the score in the legislatives). So he would be unopposed to implement his utterly insane programme.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 12:19:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So we are all agreed that the most likely outcome is a Le Pen Fillon second round and with Fillon winning? Is there no way the left and centre can get their act together to prevent this outcome?  Where stands Fillon on Brexit?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 12:26:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I get a small amount of hope from the point that the campaign hasn't even started for real. That should mean a lot can still happen.
by fjallstrom on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 04:29:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if you assume Le Pen makes it to the second round the problem becomes how do you stop Fillon being her opponent...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 11:48:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant if Le Pen meets somebody, somebody wins with a hefty margin. So if the polls are worth anything, Le Pen is unlikely to win.

Other polling PS-Republicans appears to be more 50-50.

So the mission if one dislikes both Fillon and Le Pen is to get somebody else to the second round.

If Macron is not actually surging, and it is just a (desperate?) ploy to build a narrative before PS settles on a candidate that takes a big chunk out of Macron's support, the alternatives to Macron are Mélenchon or the PS candidate.

And therefore I still wonder if there is any chance the small left parties in the 0-3% range could see a chance of being part of a shot at an actual Mélenchon win and support him for concessions. So any chance of leftist unity there?

(My gut says no, but it does not actually hold any knowledge of small french left parties, it is just inherintly pessimistic.)

by fjallstrom on Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 04:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
decisively, with about 36% (Valls 31%, Montebourg 18%)

The second round is a formality, Valls won't get over 35%. Montebourg has already announced his support for Hamon.

All this may well be nothing but a footnote, but Hamon is smart enough to do something positive with it.

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

by eurogreen on Sun Jan 22nd, 2017 at 09:26:36 PM EST
It will be interesting to see how his polls move, now he is the PS nominee.  Do the PS have a history of unifying well after a contest?  Does his appeal stretch well beyond PS supporters?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 22nd, 2017 at 10:45:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His appeal stretches beyond PS supporters : judging by Faceb**k etc, most of my Green friends voted for him. Obviously he also appeals to a large section of Mélenchon's supporters too. But he doesn't grow the overall left vote.

How the PS electorate reacts will be interesting : normally in this situation, the winner would "reach out" to the centre-left, but I expect him to stick to his guns and rely on legitimist sentiment. I think that will take him considerably higher than the nominal 7% or whatever that he was hypothetically credited with.

Mélenchon has predicted that the PS candidate will eventually step down, in favour of either Macron or himself. The PS is incapable of that, however. The most favourable outcome that I can see, and it's a long shot, is that Hamon overtakes Mélenchon who throws in the towel.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 05:21:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've read a few newspaper articles about Hamon and Montebourg leaving the government. At least at that time Hamon didn't seem to make it into the English language press with any strong statements. Can he plausibly run against the record of his own party? Are the resignations generally seen as principled or, since they followed a massive election defeat, as opportuistic? Could he cut a deal with the FdG? And win something by it?
by generic on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 06:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no question about his resignation being principled. More precisely, he was fired by Hollande and Valls, along with Montebourg and Filippetti, for being publicly opposed to the government's economic policies. He then became the acknowledged leader of the "Frondeurs", the left PS opposition within Parliament, who voted against the government on a number of occasions, obliging them, for example, to use the "article 49.3" to pass the new employment legislation (meaning it can only be defeated by a vote of no confidence).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 06:33:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 09:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the PS has a history of unifying after a contest. But I doubt this will happen this time. A significant number of PS leaders have expressed no support to Manuel Valls, including several senior ministers of the current government. With Hamon the likely winner of the primary, most of them will rally Macron (who is, indeed, a neo-Blairite) especially those who are close to Hollande. Same for many left-wing  Members of Parliament, who will see him as the only chance to save their seats. Already, the dispute and buzz about the allegedly doctored primary participation figures is used to minimize Hamon's victory (it could even be an act of sabotage).

Many voters of the center-left (those who voted for Valls) are distraught and few will be willing to rally Hamon. They will probably vote Macron. Many center-right voters are afraid of Fillon's brutal programme and would probably vote Macron if Bayrou doesn't run, which is likely.

Indeed, a lot of business leaders (less and less) discreetly support Macron. I know from reliable sources that he gets a lot of money from them and, more important, organisational power. Business leaders/employers are afraid of the severe (and violent) social unrest which would inevitably happen when Fillon will implement his programme. Even Pierre Gattaz, the head of MEDEF (employers organisation) said he didn't want a France "on fire" (alluding to Fillon's programme) and said nice things about Macron.

So, we will see how things turn, but we can expect a surge for Macron after the second round of the primary, maybe enough to make it to the second round of the presidential election. He is most certainly the only non-hard right candidate who can do it.

We must understand that many voters this primary voted probably not only to select a candidate for the presidential election, but also (mainly?) to eliminate Valls. Because one of the outcomes of this primary will be that the winner will be in a good position to lead the reconstruction of the left.

by Melanchthon on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 11:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So many PS primary voters voted for Hamon to eliminate Valls and ensure Macron became the lead centrist candidate with the best chance of defeating Fillon and Le Pen? Seems a high risk, almost desperate, strategy given Macron's lack of an organisational base.  And how will Hamon be able to re-construct the left if he is humiliated at the polls?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 02:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One other question I didn't think of asking before: What does winning the PS primary actually get you? Just the right to run with a PS behind your name, dictatorial control of the party aparatus or anything in between?
by generic on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 09:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the English headline interesting here. The mainstream centrist PS is the "left-wing."

Doubts raised over French left-wing primary turnout

French media on Monday raised doubts over the results for the first round of the left-wing primaries, saying the lack of information about the turnout suggests the vote count might be erroneous. Organisers dismissed the allegations.

French newspaper Le Monde questioned the results after having compared the turnout communicated by the election's organisers at 12.45am - some six hours after the country's polling stations closed on Sunday evening - with the numbers published on the official website later on Monday morning. According to the daily, "the percentage of votes [for each candidate] remains more or less identical, but the number of votes is no longer the same. To be more precise, there are 352,013 more," it wrote.

"How is it possible for the number of votes to increase without it affecting the distribution [of votes]?" it asked.

Christophe Borgel, president of the committee organising the primaries, told newspaper Libération: "There was a [technical] bug, that's all. And it's a little bit my fault. There was a lot of pressure when it came to the turnout numbers. I asked for the results to be updated as quickly as possible and, in effect, we used the same percentage when renewing the number of total voters."

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 01:50:40 AM EST
'Underdog' Hamon, ex-PM Valls to face off in French Socialist primary

Benoît Hamon and Manuel Valls on Sunday advanced to the second round of France's left-wing primary, setting up a battle for who will represent the ruling Socialists in the upcoming presidential election, but also for the very soul of the party.

Hamon, 49, delivered the biggest shock of a presidential race already full of surprises when he finished a decisive first on Sunday evening. The one-time underdog secured more than 36 percent of the vote in the first round of the primary organised by the Socialist Party, but that also included allied, micro-parties.


Whoever wins the left-wing primary is expected to finish in only fifth place in the race for the Elysée Palace.

Opinions polls indicate Hamon or Valls will likely lose out to conservative nominee [from les Republicains party] François Fillon, but also far-right leader Marine Le Pen, radical-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron.

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 01:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dare I say, French progressives dare to hope?

Poll taken before the second round of the socialist primary, which Hamon won convincingly :

First round of the presidential election :
Le Pen 25%
Fillon 22%
Macron 21%
Hamon 15%
Mélenchon 10%

If this trend stabilises or is accentuated, Mélenchon is going to come under pressure...

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

by eurogreen on Sun Jan 29th, 2017 at 10:42:28 PM EST
We really need to do a bit better than that. Remember when Podemos fused with the united left and the sum was less than its parts?
Still, the campaign hasn't really started yet so there is yet room to do better. I assume if Hamon collapsed it would be structurally impossible for the PS to get behind Mèlenchon?
by generic on Sun Jan 29th, 2017 at 11:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Take a look at the numbers on the lower left of the graphic, "Stature présidentielle", = electability. Hamon at 34% and climbing fast.

That's why I've been saying that electorally, the PS candidate has to be well ahead for any deal to be made. The communist candidate (and structurally, that's what Mélenchon is) has no chance.

Hamon is actually quite a mainstream PS candidate, it's just that he has modernized his thinking and his message while the others have drifted rightwards. The collapse of voting intentions for the left in France is all a question of loss of hope : if Hollande is all there is, we're fucked.

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

by eurogreen on Sun Jan 29th, 2017 at 11:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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