This Sunday was Election Day in France. Extremist Front National candidates reached tonight some exceptional scores with between 30 and 45% of the votes in cities such as Béziers, Avignon, Perpignan, Forbach, Fréjus. They reached over 15-25% of the votes in many other cities, including Marseille. One candidate was even elected in the first round of the election in the city of Hénin-Beaumont. From a “protest vote” or “rejection vote”, the extremist vote has now become a powerful vote that is here to stay and getting stronger at every election. Marine Le Pen, President of the far-right Front National, was happier than ever tonight on French television.
Two years after the election of President François Hollande, the French have spoken to elect 36,000 mayors. Well, not all the French have spoken in the first round of this local election, because 39.5% of them have not wished to vote on this sunny Sunday.
Last November, President Hollande was booed during Remembrance Day at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, and seventy people with links to extremist groups were arrested by the police. The dark side of the French Society had stopped hiding. The Pandora box was indeed wide open and still is.
After the great gay marriage divide, the case of the budget Minister who publicly lied about tax-dodging and his secret Swiss bank account, the failing economic policies, a government that both fails to listen and to communicate with the people and the so-called “red caps” revolt, that started with the farmers in Brittany over the green “ecotax.”
In a previous article, published on CNN on April 23, 2012 (“French Presidential Election: Nicolas 2007. Francois 2012… Marine 2017?”), just one day after the first round of the last French presidential election, I warned “In five years’ time, President Hollande will have to face his responsibilities and fight against a force which, if he has not done enough to make France “recover” from the crisis and the recession (in every sense of the word) during his term, will eat him alive in the first round of the 2017 Presidential Elections. The French won’t give him a second chance to succeed. […] According to a survey “2/3 of Marine Le Pen’s electorate have chosen to vote for her first of all because she understand their worries (67%).” The so-called “protest vote” which some politicians are talking about doesn’t exist. People simply believe in her.”
First, the French have shown their protest through demonstrations in the streets and motorways. Now, they express their disbelief at what both the Left and the Right may have promised to do to help the country recover. The growing feeling of an endless table tennis game where one side carelessly gives the ball to the other without the interest of the people first in mind has now become the drop that spilled the cup. The French now believe Marine Le Pen is the solution.
That is why the Pandora box is now wide open. The racists in the French Society are out and loud, calling fearlessly and publicly the Justice Minister a monkey because of the colour of her skin. Facebook and Twitter are used daily by extremists and anti-Semites to let their poisonous words and extremist views out and make sure they are heard and repeated, and followed, and amplified.
Alike the ‘Costa Concordia’, the Captain of the ‘France’ doesn’t seem to be aware of what is going on aboard the ship, busy he is with his ways of a “normal president” close to the people, who is he not, and not paying enough attention to the warnings that some terrible event may happen soon.
2014 is election year in France. In March, local elections with city mayors to be elected and in May, the European elections to elect the MEPs at the European Parliament. No doubt, the Socialist Party of Holland will suffer defeat at both elections.
March 2014. Sarkozy’s party reconquers many cities they had lost in 2008 to the “pink wave” of the Socialists, but in many cases, the right wing party mostly benefits of the “republican support” from the defeated Left candidates to avoid Le Pen’s party to take over cities in the second round of the election.
When the European elections come, Marine Le Pen feels stronger than ever. Her party has been defeated in many cities where they could have had a FN mayor, but the results show that she has managed to get her party to a higher ranking than her father may have ever dreamt of, to become the second political party in France.
May 2014. Another slap for the Socialists, another slap for President Hollande. However, this time, Le Pen’s FN has not finish second. They have become the strongest force in the country and easily won the election. Far beyond the 24% voting intentions stated by IFOP in October 2013.
June 2014. Marine Le Pen asks François Holland to receive her at l’Elysée to discuss the results of both elections. First, she asks for a change on the “unfair” legislative election system (which never helped her party get much elected MPs at the Parliament).
She also asks the President to resign due to his lack of leadership and/or to fire his government, insisting that her party has now become the largest party in France and could definitely win a legislative election.
Behind his cold and ceremonious look, President Hollande is actually weak. Having suffered two consecutive election defeats, he has no choice but dissolve the assembly and hopelessly ask the French to give him support against the rise of the extremist party. After all, Hollande thinks he has the same charisma and destiny of a De Gaulle or a Mitterrand, whom both dissolved the assembly before and got the majority they wanted, and he believes he will end up victorious too.
Alas, it is too little too late. The dissolution will be his Trafalgar, his Waterloo.
October 2014. After a very difficult campaign, the Socialist MPs are quasi inexistent in the assembly. In a very anti-republican manner, everywhere a triangular situation occurred in the second round of the election, where a Socialist candidate was against a UMP and a FN, the Right has given way to Le Pen’s party.
The colour of the majority in the assembly moves from pink to blue and even dark blue. Le Pen, freshly elected MP for the very first time enjoys her victory with tens of Nationalist MPs seating in the assembly with her and thus creating a blue-dark blue coalition joining the UMP and FN together. A weak Jean-Francois Copé, leader of the UMP, finalises the alliance with Le Pen, and allows her party to reach important ministries. Most importantly, he offers her the leadership of the coalition government, as long as he gets Bercy, the Ministry of Budget, in exchange.
November 2014. A new cohabitation period starts where President Hollande has to nominate his new PM from the new majority. Marine Le Pen becomes the Prime Minister of France.
The new PM begins her programme of destruction of France, vote new laws, against gay marriage, against immigration, against every liberty millions of men and women fought for in the country, with a full and blind support from her majority. As for François Hollande, he is stuck and prisoner in his role of a Captain without leadership, without power. Meeting his government every week is a pain that he has to bear without complaining. Inside, he believes he can still turn the table. But he really can’t. He sealed his fate in May 2012 when he became President. He sealed his fate when he chose to become yet another distant monarch of the republic, not its president.
January 2015. Hollande is evicted from his decorative role of president by Le Pen for the excessive cost he represents to the hard working taxpayers. She declares a state of emergency in France and imposes emergency rules. She fires all UMP ministers in her government, but retain the loyalty of the party’s MPs at the assembly. She becomes the Acting President until her party draws a new Constitution with new laws and new powers.
It is now up to the French people to think carefully about who they really want to lead them through the crisis they currently live and not choose an easy “solution”, which is not a solution and will only bring chaos to their lives and their country. It is also up to the politicians to work with the people’s interest first and stop promising winds that will end up as hurricanes in the lives of the people who they are elected to serve.
Let’s not forget that a certain Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany on January 30, 1933, in a democratic manner, after winning the 1932 Parliamentary Elections, and before his victory in 1933. He was named chancellor by the president because he was the leader of the winning party. Unfortunately, we know what happened next…
Similarities between the two periods are striking.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana (1863-1952) said. The French must remember the past today in order not to repeat the mistakes of 1930s’ Germany.