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Fillon Believes in God’s Providence, Marine Believes in White People’s Dominance
The voters are more attracted by a populist and a messianic message; anti-Islam/Arab immigrant sentiment is the catch-phrase of LR and the FN candidates.
By Abdennour Toumi
As the major candidates in the coming French Presidential election are warming up for the debate, they will be facing 18 million voters, the Parisian media and the French elite. The candidates, however, are feeling the Mistral in the Midi, the vines’ bourgeoning leaves in the Aquitaine and wind storms on the Normandy beaches.
By the time the storm has cooled off, France will have a clearer picture about who is going to replace President Hollande in May.
The candidates have been polishing their programs, their T.V. network/radio appearances and home-town meetings because what interests the voters are the candidates’ proposed public policies and solutions to the on-going French slump. It is a heterogeneous field of candidates, a mosaic of programs — from racist-dystopian to social-democrat pragmatists, lefty delusionists to divine social and societal policy candidates.
A new generation of candidates are really shaping France’s politics and creating a new paradigm for the political parties and the exercise of democracy.
Nonetheless, the classic electoral dispute “left vs. right” seems to be evaporating in this election, since the voters are more attracted by a populist and a messianic message; anti-Islam/Arab immigrant sentiment is the catch-phrase of LR and the FN candidates.
Thus the French conventional right with its centrist moderates is lost in the message and the forced passage of Mr. Fillon, who thinks vehemently that he is God’s providential candidate, the LR candidate who is facing a full judicial inquiry into the so-called”Penelope Clark-gate.”
Up until last month, candidate Fillon believed strongly that French conservative and the Christian right would elect him to become France’s eighth President of the Fifth Republic.
However, according to the latest French polls, he is in third position at the finishing line of the race in the April 22nd first round; hence he will be disqualified, leaving his party leaders and the LR moderate voters wondering about the candidate’s credibility and eventual victory. In this stance, French MP members are asking him to withdraw from the race.
An electorate fiasco that candidate Fillon created, when he portrayed himself in the primaries as Mr. Clean of France’s politics, public service and the establishment.
Yet the dichotomy between classic candidates and “anti-system” populist candidates has allowed major candidates in this election to present a populist message in order to seduce an electorate disenchanted with corrupt politicians — consequently, a large majority of voters in the wake of the Paris and Nice attacks don’t care anymore about a political party or an ideology.
French leftists are the voice of moderation endorsing a young candidate, Mr. Macron, the social-liberal candidate. Former union militants are endorsing a racist antisocial program policy candidate, and the House Speaker is throwing his party’s candidate, Mr. Hamon, off the cliff.
This historical presidential campaign narrative is obscuring the candidates’ public policies programs. For instance, one has seen the FN and LR candidates employ the Arab and Muslim immigrants/Salafism card as a cause of France’s malaise.
This in response to the Arab and Muslim electorate which has very little if any direct influence on the election’s outcome, unlike the Armenian and Jewish votes, by far smaller than the Muslim/Arab vote but semantically efficient enough.
Meanwhile France’s far and “moderate” right candidates do their best to sound like best friends of Israel and voice anti-Turkish sentiment. Yet the FN and LR candidates are using Arabs and Muslims as a scapegoat.
Not to mention their timid foreign policy program and objectives vis-à-vis MENA, in this case, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have become a direct object sentence in Mr. Fillon’s Middle East foreign Policy catch-phrase line. Like the darling girl of the FN and the racist French right subject, verb, Qatar…
This off-center strategy creates a psychological advantage for the candidates to appeal to a group of voters or virtually to show as the toughest candidate in the field in terms of national security and French protectionism.
How the French right and far-right candidates joke about it as if they are joking about the smell of a brie or camembert cheese plate! Candidate Fillon sees his foreign policy determinants from the apocalyptic perspective with Arab and Muslim countries. He is following the Moscow direction on the Syrian civil war dossier, insisting on strong protection and favoring a massive exodus of the Levant Christians to Europe whom he believes are unjustly persecuted.
The Republicans’ base seems confused like their candidates between pragmatism and principles. Ironically the “pragmatists” are leaning toward the far-right, sometimes discrediting their own political achievement. Such is the case of Mr. Fillon, a mainstream conservative, who is strategically swerving to the far-right of the party after his decent performance as a moderate Prime Minister in the Sarkozy administration and public servant for three decades under the aegis of his mentor Philippe Séguin, a center-right Gaullist and Chiraquian.
Ms. Le Pen, on the other hand, appeals to the social and white Christian hard-liners, who share her unwavering emphasis on family and conservative values, who believe in a clash of civilization and an ideological foreign policy.
Nevertheless, the majority of French don’t believe in crusading terms, or faith-based foreign policy or even in public policies — after all, most French don’t care about what is happening outside the Hexagon. Mainly they are worried about their monthly paychecks and shopping-cart groceries, particularly in the heartland of the country.
Or the notion of a dystopian project presented by the FN candidate, i.e., French-exit from the E.U., going back to the French franc currency, cutting off all social services to Arab and Muslim immigrants and creating more jobs in national police.
Whereas the Republican candidate wants to reform the French social security system and cut five hundred thousand posts in public servant services in five years though his program is facing a serious challenge from the far-right candidate.
The French want credible candidates with viable programs that can get them out of their slump and answer their needs; as far as foreign policy goes, the Republicans, ex-UMP, as Socialists have expert scholars and diplomats who have worked under Republican and Socialist presidents alike, but who don’t share an apocalyptic foreign policy stance and a multi-culturalism clash in France’s suburbs, a scenario dear to Éric Zemmour, the French Sean Hannity.
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- France correspondent for The Arab Daily News.
- www.bareed-areej.com Editor-in-Chief
رئيس تحرير مجلة بريد الأريج
- Political consultant at IMPR a Think-Tank based in Ankara, Turkey.
- Member at the European Observatory for Arabic Language Teaching based in Paris, France.
- Affiliated with Sociology of Islam Journal and contributor at Middle East Studies / International Studies, Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Center, Portland State University in Portland, OR.
EDUCATION: Diplôme des Études Approfondies (DEA) in Political Science from Toulouse University I, France. Master’s degree in Law from Algiers University, Algeria.
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