Yesterday was Armistice Day in France, the French Remembrance Day. A day the entire Nation remembers the dead from WWI. A day the entire Nation unites behind the symbol of the Republic: the President. But yesterday, President Hollande was booed during the tribute 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 is not hiding any longer. The Pandora box is now wide open.
In a recent poll for Clai-Metronews-LCI by Opinionway, only 3% of the people in France are “very satisfied” by French President François Hollande and 13% of them say they are “satisfied”. It means a scary 77% of the population is “unhappy” with the President. Unhappy or angry?
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 listens and to communicate with the people and the current so-called “red caps” revolt, that started with the farmers in Brittany over the green “ecotax” and is now spreading to more and more regions in France, we can only wonder what is going to happen next to the world’s ninth largest economy.
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 was warning my readers that if President Hollande, once elected, wasn’t able or wasn’t try hard enough to sort out the serious issues over France’s economy, the French voters would not take long before waking from Hollande’s beautiful promises and trash him.
“[…] But Hollande’s electorate should beware of the difficult awakening, because the new Socialist president will not be able to do even half of what he has promised his voters. Not only because promises always remain during a term what they were during a campaign, that is promises, but also because, contrary to the claims made by the Socialist candidate that he will be in a strong position to bend the market and dictate to the market what he wants, he simply won’t!” I precisely warned at the time.
“He will certainly already have a majority at the Parliament, but will face a strong opposition. It won’t be Nicolas Sarkozy, but Marine Le Pen who will, by then, have gathered around her both “personalities from the civil community” – as she likes to say – and former members of the UMP (disappointed! Sic.), Sarkozy’s party, who will have thought that the grass is greener on the “Marine”’s newly designed party than on the former president’s party’s.” I added.
November 2013. Is the grass greener at Le Pen’s Front National yet? It is an ongoing process, I would say. Fallen legend and film stars Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot, or forgotten comedian Jean Roucas, are among the first former celebrities (and they certainly won’t be the last!) to bring their support to the extremist party. Some senior members of Sarkozy’s UMP have been quite controversial too. Former PM François Fillon infamously said in an interview that if asked to choose between two candidates, one being from Le Pen’s Nationalists and the other from Hollande’s Socialists, he would consider voting for “the least sectarian”. A gaffe, or a Freudian slip, that many in his own party condemned immediately.
In April 2012, I also 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 Ipsos again, “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 are showing once again their protest through demonstrations in the streets and motorways. Then, at the next elections, they will express their disbelief at what both the Left and the Right may promise to do to help the country recover if they get elected, again. 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 that 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, your Captain 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.
Let’s do some political fiction now…
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.
Sarkozy remains silent, enjoying the destruction of Hollande’s presidency and waiting to play a role of Saviour at the next Presidential election, whenever it is to be.
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.
Fortunately, this is what one calls “political fiction”. Although I believe that, more than ever before, and as we remember this week some of the darkest moments of our recent history, France has a good chance to get into a major political crisis in 2014, it is still possible to avoid such terrible events from happening.
It is 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.
As a final warning, I will end this article like my April 2012 article:
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.
He began by renovating the National Socialists German Workers Party (better known as the Nazi Party) in 1925, making it respectable and reassuring to the country’s elite, to escape to its previous image of an extremist and revolutionary party. Then, thanks to the terrible economic and social consequences of the 1929 crisis, and thanks to errors and weak rhetoric of the other political parties, Hitler was rewarded with the incredible success of his party in the 1930 Parliamentary Elections which propelled it as the second political force in Germany. Finally, in 1931, Hitler formed the “Harzburg Front,” a union of various right-wing nationalist parties to oppose the government and the Republic. Hitler united everyone around him. Unfortunately, we know what happened next…
Let’s just say that the 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 Germany’s mistakes, 80 years later.
– The endless growing influence of Marine Le Pen’s party in France, Le Figaro (in French)
– The poll for Clai-Metronews-LCI by Opinionway, 20 Minutes (in French)
– French farmers joining “eco-tax” protests, BBC News
– Seventy arrested as France’s Hollande booed at WWI tribute, Reuters
– François Hollande ‘would lose to Marine Le Pen tomorrow’, The Telegraph
– France’s far-right National Front tops pre-election poll as EU swings right, Russia Today
– French Presidential Election: Nicolas 2007. Francois 2012… Marine 2017?, CNN
– 11 November: the web hunting the blond who booed Hollande, Le Nouvel Obs’ (in French)