3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

January 15, 2006 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on January 15, 2006.

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:


Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us


Les présidentielles, resources


The French presidential race is developing into their most significant election since the war... (WWII: see Note, below)

Some resources, then, appear here, for anyone interested in the longue durée of the 2007 présidentielles: listed by candidate, or possible candidate, current poll leaders plus a few long-shots -- bibliography for three of the leaders, and links for the rest.

The French presidential election has become at least as curious as présidentielles held elsewhere: in the Hexagone the recently - shortened term of office, the vaguely-defined "cohabitation" powers, the erratic constitutional history due to which many in France say they already operate under a "5eme République bis".

Then, at the end of the process, the French hold their very short official "campaign"; but anyone wishing really to understand that dénouement, when it finally comes 'round, needs to get started at the beginning, and things are beginning right about now...

And it can be very interesting, seeing what politicians choose to write about, or choose to have others write about them...

Three of the current leaders, per chatter + gossip + polls: in alphabetical order --

* Royal, Ségolène


* Sarkozy, Nicolas


* Villepin, Dominique de


-- and The Rest Of The Field, maybe -- alphabetical order, again --

* Aubry, Martine

* Bayrou, François

* Fabius, Laurent

* Hollande, François

* Jospin, Lionel

* Lang, Jack

* Strauss-Kahn, Dominique

* Veil, Simone

-- and, comme président, éminence grise, court jester, diable gris, whatever..., at any rate not-to-be-forgotten, certainly not this time around --

* Le Pen, Jean-Marie





Many fundamental issues are moving inside of France, all at once now, and they all seem to be aiming collectively at the choice to be made by the French at the urnes in April-May 2007: among them --

* Post-Cold War geostrategy -- this will be the first president elected by the French since the lines of post-Cold War geopolitical development have become clear -- for Chirac and Mitterrand the 1989 Berlin Wall transition came too abruptly and too early, the direction of change really emerging only with the US reaction to "September 11", and now France and the rest of us are trying to adjust to that -- it's a new, New World Order;

* Political party disarray -- although France is no stranger to party squabbling, the political consensus, or standoff, which sometimes-shakily ruled the country for 50 years seems now firmly to have dissolved -- the Communists are no more, but neither are the Gaullists, and the Fabius revolt over the EU Constitution issue last summer perhaps has left the Socialists splintered;

* Presidential scandal and stain -- the scandals of Juppé's conviction and the taint which reached toward Chirac still are bitterly remembered, in France rocking confidence more than they might in the US or other places -- in France less perhaps as shock and outrage, instead the even more destructive "malaise" and "je m'en fou" factor -- Chirac's successor will have to be "above suspicion" even more, now, if French cynicism about "the political class" is to be mollified;

* EU disunity -- this French presidential election follows the blasting apart of the EU dream, and European unity, by the French themselves with their EU Constitution vote last year, médiatisé and emotional and high-profile as that vote was;

* "Fascism" -- the Front National, and other extremist right-wing parties, long declared "fringe" and "irrelevant" by "the political class", now appear to be in the ascendant in the country nationally, at least as to their policies and general views, or so say recent polls -- the présidentielles, and more importantly the pre-election policy shifts to co-opt the extremists, will tell how deeply the Far Right has penetrated;

* Féminisme -- the first woman president of France is to be elected, perhaps, in 2007 -- Mme. Ségolène Royal is off-and-running, at least, and already she is leading in polls...

* Nationwide rioting and martial law -- every fundamental idea of French civilization is folded into the "émeutes" issue, somewhere -- racism, sexism, religion, equal opportunity and civil liberty, education, the Crusades, Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours, Charlemagne and the Song of Roland, citizenship and the ius solis and Roman Law and the Code Napoléon and nationality, Islam -- l'architecture, l'urbanisme -- "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité", also "Travail, Famille, Patrie" -- all are involved, or at least have been invoked, even French sovereignty and the force de frappe, and Globalization. More than just a "colonialism" election, then, this time, although even colonialism becomes involved this time around, as well...


France gets to reconsider, then, as other nations have been reconsidering recently, Ben Franklin's famous bon mot:

-- or, as a US politician recently put it more succinctly, albeit unsuccessfully, during his own electoral campaign --

-- may France make its choices wisely.


Jack Kessler, kessler@well.com






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