Sociologist Razmig Keucheyan, a professor at the Université Paris IV (Sorbonne), reflects on the fallout of the French presidential election. First published in Spanish at Nueva Sociedad, and then revised in French after the first round results for Contretemps. Translated from the French by David Broder.
For the first time under the French Fifth Republic, neither of the two main parties (the Socialists and the Republicans) managed to reach the second round of the presidential election. What does this change in French politics represent, also taking into account the particularities of Marine Le Pen and the dizzying rise of Emmanuel Macron?
Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are two different cases. It had long been predicted that Marine Le Pen would be present in the second round. That did not surprise anyone: all the surveys said that this would happen. People had so much taken this for given that there were few protests on the evening of the vote.
John McDonald's conversation with Clément Petitjean — doctoral candidate in American civilization in Paris and a member of Ensemble! — on the French presidential election was first published on the Haymarket Books blog.
John McDonald: I’m hoping that you can start by giving a little bit of context. What were the driving forces of this election, what were people thinking about, and what led people to support the candidates they did?
Clément Petitjean: I would say what’s most striking about the election is that nothing happened the way it should have. The first sign of something strange was in December when the incumbent, François Hollande, who was elected in 2012 against Sarkozy, decided to step aside and not run for reelection. This is unprecedented since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
David Broder's report on the French presidential election was first published in Political Critique, prior to yesterday's first round.
Without doubt the French election promises a political shake-up. The governing Socialist Party is at just 8% in the presidential poll while all four leading candidates vying to replace François Hollande declare themselves the challengers to "élites," or even to be "anti-systemic." Certainly the candidates are keen to represent a clean break with the record of both the Hollande and Sarkozy presidencies, associated with continual economic crisis as well as the insecurity attached to the mounting war on terror. Yet the "battle against élites" increasingly appears as a mere marketing strategy, the supposed fight against "vested interests" able to cover all manner of sins, or indeed, vested interests.