Marseille Hit by Violent Wave of Drug Crimes
The 600-year struggle for the soul of Joan of Arc - Europe - World Not from English captivity but from her status as a foreigner-bashing, official heroine of the French far right. Friday marks the 600 anniversary of Joan’s birth. Mr Sarkozy will take time out from rescuing the French and European economies to attend a series of events in her native village of Domrémy-la-Pucelle in the Vosges. He will also visit Vaucouleurs in Meuse, where Joan or Jeanne or Jehanne (1412-1431) spent the early part of her brief career as a religious visionary and resistance leader. The xenophobic National Front adopted Jeanne d’Arc as an icon of ultra-nationalism two decades ago. The NF will celebrate her 600 birthday with an open-air rally led by the party’s leader Marine Le Pen and its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in Paris on Saturday.
A mysterious band of hacker-artists is prowling the network of tunnels below Paris, secretly refurbishing the city's neglected treasures.Photo: UX Thirty years ago, in the dead of night, a group of six Parisian teenagers pulled off what would prove to be a fateful theft. They met up at a small café near the Eiffel Tower to review their plans—again—before heading out into the dark. Lifting a grate from the street, they descended a ladder to a tunnel, an unlit concrete passageway carrying a cable off into the void. They followed the cable to its source: the basement of the ministry of telecommunications.
PARIS — With rising unemployment, controversial austerity measures, another recession, and striking personal unpopularity, it's not shocking that French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a steep climb to reelection in May. But the center-right leader's greatest obstacle is not his front-running opponent, the Socialist François Hollande, but the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, France's political equivalent, in many ways, of America's Newt Gingrich. Le Pen may not look much like America's doughy, retirement-age former House speaker. After all, France's insurgent on the right is a feisty, scratchy-voiced, cigarette-smoking 43-year-old blond woman. France's Newt Gingrich - By Eric Pape
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space PARIS – And the next French President will be…the Socialist Party’s candidate François Hollande. "Sarkozy at Dusk" by Dominique Moisi
Divining the result of French elections is a notoriously hazardous affair. No one in France forgets 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen, the right-wing National Front candidate, pulled off a surprise upset in the first round, knocking Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin out of the running and securing a place in the runoff election against Jacques Chirac. A decade later, there are no fewer than ten candidates on the ballot for the first round of voting on April 22. Polls indicate that Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president, and François Hollande, the Socialist Party challenger, are in a virtual tie at 28 and 27 percent of the vote, respectively. They alone will likely go on to the runoff election on May 6. A Lesser France
France's future: A country in denial
My wife and I have been living in France for the past nine months in a city near the Mediterranean coast. But it’s not quite what you think. It’s not Paris, or the French Riviera, or some quaint little town surrounded by vineyards in the countryside. We live in Montpellier, the largest city in France’s poorest region, the Languedoc-Roussillon, which has the highest jobless rate in a country that just hit a twelve-year high for unemployment. In other words, we live in the Rust Belt of France. The Rust Belt of France: Montpellier
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space With the French presidential elections only weeks away, it is becoming increasingly clear that the shootings committed in Toulouse by 23-year-old Mohammed Merah have dramatically boosted President Nicolas Sarkozy flagging campaign. Having long warned about the dangers of unrestricted immigration and the continuing threat of Islamic terrorism, Sarkozy has been able to present the deaths of eight innocent victims as a tragic illustration of the merits of his platform. La Haine Redux by Alexander Lee
Is the left the real story in the French election? In the lead-up to this weekend's French presidential election, there's been quite a bit of attention paid in the U.S. media (including some fine pieces on this site) to the impact of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen on the race. While Le Pen has no chance of winning, and little chance of even making it to the second round, her substantial support has pushed Nicolas Sarkozy to the right on questions of immigration and Islam. But I wonder if, when the dust settles, the real story of this election might be the resurgence of the French "left of the left," in the person Left Party candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The 60-year-old ex-Trotskyite who left the labor party in 2008 when he felt it had moved to far to the center, favors confiscating income above 360,000 euros per year and outlawing layoffs by profitable companies. His message seems to have struck a chord in post-crash France. He is currently polling at around 15 percent, putting him in competition with Le Pen for third place.
A Bizarre Political Comedy Nicolas Sarkozy has used his country's recent tragedy -- the killing spree by French-born 24-year-old Mohamed Merah, a self-proclaimed radical Muslim -- as an opportunity to put his campaign on hold. Looking every bit a president (read: not a candidate), Sarkozy responded with solemnity to the rampage that left seven dead -- he rose to the occasion by organizing a national funeral ceremony. Yet, during the funeral, which was televised live, the other candidates elbowed each other to appear in front of the camera, and it became clear how political this mourning period had become. Uncouth, perhaps, but the show must go on.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space PARIS – Rousseau versus Hobbes: on the cover of the French magazine Philosophie, the two leading contenders in France’s upcoming presidential election, the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and the Socialist candidate François Hollande, are dressed up accordingly. “The real presidential contest” according to the magazine, pits the consensual and contractual vision of Rousseau (Hollande) against the violent “every man is a wolf to his fellow man” vision of Hobbes (Sarkozy). "France’s Election by Default" by Dominique Moisi
The Circus Continues Egypt Unwrapped It has been an entertaining couple of weeks in Egyptian politics. Anti-Omar Suleiman posters in Cairo, Egypt It has been an entertaining couple of weeks in Egyptian politics.
A Lesser France
Earlier this month, for the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, the incumbent failed to take the lead in the first round of a French presidential election. Now, before the second round, scheduled for Sunday, surveys indicate that President Nicolas Sarkozy will be beaten handily by François Hollande, the Socialist Party candidate. So handily, in fact, that the French press has already moved on to speculating about the legislative elections that will take place in June. Chances are that the outcome in June will be determined by the same issues that dominated the first round of voting in the presidential election, which have dominated the second round as well. Hollande Is Half the Story
France: a politics out of time All opinion-polls agree: most French voters feel the current campaign for the presidency is dull, boring and remote from their main concerns. What they want is to keep their jobs and social services, earn decent wages, have less social inequality, a good education system for their children, and law and order. At the same time, they are well aware of the turmoil caused by the country's economic and social crisis, and the urgent necessity to reduce the punitive cost of a public debt which has doubled in ten years to reach almost 90% of GDP.
Why would any Frenchman vote for François Hollande, a ghost of a man with the temperament of Eeyore, over tiny, tempestuous Nicolas Sarkozy with his Napoleonic desires and flamboyant charm? I have asked this question for the past few weeks of a wide assortment of French voters I happen to know—many of them every bit as flamboyant as the man they claim to despise. And the answer is always pretty much the same, and always astonishing: “We are tired of this cult of personality.” Sarkozy and Hollande: Desire and Fear
I cannot vote in the French presidential election. While as an EU citizen with residence in France I have the right to vote for the mayor, I discovered that exercising that right requires extended negotiation with French municipal bureaucracy, an exercise on which no sane person would voluntarily embark. But the choice of president is a matter for the French alone. I am glad not to have to choose. France’s choice: naughty child or colourless adult?
President Sarkozy's Desperate Mayday - By Eric Pape
Europe’s far right is the true winner of France’s presidential election
"Europe’s Opportunity in Hollande" by Martin Schulz
The Morning After - By Eric Pape
French elections: what does normal stand for?
"François Hollande Meets the World" by Noëlle Lenoir
Mitterrand, Hollande, and France's Socialist Legacy
Auf Wiedersehen, Mon Ami - By Benjamin Weinthal
"Hollande or Insurrection?" by Zaki Laidi
The End of Sarkozy, the Decline of the French-German Partnership - Max Fisher - International
"France Goes to Hollande" by Michel Rocard
Mr. Normal's Odd Government - By Eric Pape
French Socialism, Take Two
François Hollande and France: the big test
The French Don’t Get It - Martin Feldstein - Project Syndicate
The French Don't Know Their Place (In the Global Economy)
"France’s Broken Dream" by Martin Feldstein
Oradour-sur-Glane: Reflections on the Culture of Memorial in Europe | The White Review
"Back to Utopia?" by Guy Sorman
Marseille's Melting Pot
"I Kill, Therefore I Am" by Dominique Moisi
Young, Muslim and French
"Decolonizing the Franc Zone" by Sanou Mbaye
France: Exclude Syria’s Arms Supplier from Paris Arms Show