October 20, 2021

Paris Perspectives # 16 – Let the game begin: Alice 2022 Race – Gerald Olivier

Less than 200 days before the election of the next president of France. Paris’s point of view examines the silos opened by potential candidates, the reluctance of parties to hold primaries and the rise of a firebrand, a popular intellectual whose French is far-right.

Following a season of speculation, candidates are stepping out of the woodwork to show their interest in running for president in April 2022.

Over the past 15 years, French voters have become accustomed to holding American-style primaries, with candidates openly debating why they should be selected for party tickets.

After reaching its climax in a series of televised debates during the 2017 election, the process seems to have deteriorated over the past five years.

Gerald Olivier, author and political strategist, says that while the logic of holding a primary in the United States works well in a country of 50 states spread across most of the North American continent, it makes little sense to France.

Why did the American-style primary fail in France?


“[In the US] You can’t campaign everywhere at the same time. IPSE InstituteA Paris-based think tank focusing on European security,

“So you go from state to state, and you move on until you cover the whole country. France is much smaller than the United States, so the primary has no geographical justification.”

The introduction of the party primary in France was a politically motivated, double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can involve people in the selection process from the beginning – a more direct type of choice.

American primaries, on the other hand, have become increasingly interested in mass media coverage, which allows parties to resolve their internal problems and strengthen their base.

“But it didn’t happen in France,” Olivier said. “It simply came to our notice then. Argument on TV. “

Candidates from the extreme factions in each party will win the televised match, as those who run in the primary are more militant.

“In the end, the parties ended up with the wrong candidate.”

With France’s political stalemate evaporating, are all parties falling apart?

Eric Zemore.
Eric Zemore. AFP – Joel Seagate

Wash dirty clothes, hang out to dry

The process has taken a turn for the worse ahead of next year’s presidential election.EELVThe only party that conducts a run-off for its chosen candidate. It was won this week by Greens MEP Yannick Jadot.

Olivier stressed that unless you have a candidate who can unite the party behind him, it will not work.

In 2017, center-right “sure shot” Francois Flynn won a Republican ticket from former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the primary. Incumbent Socialist President Francois Hollande. Population classification Five years ago it was so low that he did not even risk re-election.

Hollande fell to his sword for the betterment of the Socialist Party (PS) when its prime minister, Manuel Valls, lost the primary to Benoit Hamon.

“The more radical wing of the Socialist Party had a candidate when Hamon became the candidate instead of Walls. In the end, Hamon got 6% of the vote. [national] The vote, which was A complete disaster“Oliver says.

2017 sounded the death knell for PS, with Hamon receiving just 2.3 million votes nationwide – the worst performance ever for the traditional left.

Once the campaign of Francois Fallon was launched, the traditional right was also sent to the tail. Shot through a scandal, When it came to light that his wife was actually on her publicly funded payroll without a solid job.

The whole point of the presidential election is that the candidate must be able to gain interest outside the party, Olivier said. “if they [or she] Unable to do that, you’ll never get to the second round, let alone Elise. “

Immediate date of the presidential primary in France

The story behind France’s American-style primary imports has its roots in the 2002 presidential election, when incumbent President Jack Chirac presented himself to the far-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in the extraordinary second round of Elysee. Found the palace.

Following the failure of Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin to make it to the second round – mainly due to widespread apathy – the “crazy fringe” FN has now been brought into the French political mainstream, to the horror of the political establishment.

So it seemed a good idea to stick with the party’s foundations, and hold a primary to mobilize the electorate, once Chirac defeated Le Pen, with the lowest electoral turnout in French history as president. Started his second mandate.

Political losses.

Despite engaging with voters through the primary, the last two officials – Sarkozy and Hollande – were not returned to office.

What will Macron do if his La Republique en Marche party has not established itself at the grassroots level?

For Gerald Olivier, Macron strengthened his political movement in 2017 to focus on lawmakers on the left and right of the center, following his presidential victory in subsequent legislative elections.

“Hey [Macron] Called him working. – EM since its inception – and gained an overwhelming majority, which then destroyed the Left, “he says.

Although Macron’s rating is high, Olivier said he is nonetheless unpopular: “He remains a favorite for re-election, let’s be honest, because the French are very Lawyer. The one who comes has a big advantage, so I don’t see Emmanuel Macron making it to the second round … most likely he will be re-elected.

“But then with the parliamentary elections, it can’t get a majority because. working. It has proved to be a very weak, ineffective and incompetent political organization. So this is where the surprise can come from. “

Sarkozy effect – will his support make or break candidates?


The rise of Zemor.

And that “wonder” is Eric Zammour, who’s far right, Public intellectuals Which is sowing the seeds of fear in the political arena – especially on the political right.

Is this agent outrageous – which is everywhere in the French media with a self-published book about which France has sold its ultra-conservative vision like a hot cake – out of the political comment box And on the way to the campaign.

Whether you agree with his identity politics or not, Zemor is the “most interesting thing” about this choice, says Olivier.

“People call him French Trump, which is not true with the exception that he is a big media personality. When you put Zamor on TV, you The rating goes through the ceiling. And that’s why the media loves it.

“As an intellectual and debater, he is very comprehensive and able to express complex ideas in this way. [people] Can understand. And that is the reason for its success. He’s too big right now. And yes, he can fly right. “

Watch the full video here.

Written, produced and presented by David Kofi.

Recorded, combined and edited by Nicholas Dorau and Vincent Poora.


Gerald Olivier is a writer and political strategist with the IPSE Institute in Paris.

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