French Presidential Election – Update

Unsurprisingly, Benoit Hamon has swept to victory in the second round of the Primary, beating ex-Prime Minister Manuel Valls 59% to 41% to be the party’s nominee. Let’s be honest – Valls was never going to win. He’s a centrist – there is no appetite for centre-ground politics anymore (he’s more right wing than Emmanuel Macron). It was always going to be one of the two left wing rebels, either Hamon or Arnaud Montebourg.
But this puts me in an awkward position. Before the primary, when it was assumed that Valls was going to win, it seemed as if the Socialists would be relegated to 5th place in the election, behind the Far-Left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, with Emmanuel Macron as the only hope of the Broad Left (or, as a throwback to Mitterand’s days, the Plural Left).

Now, with Hamon as their candidate, the Socialists are likely to win back support they originally lost to Mélenchon’s Front de Gauche (Left Front), to a point where Hamon will be able to join the competition that is already going on between Macron and Fillon for second place in the first round, although Fillon’s chances are looking ever more slim following the scandal involving payments he made to his wife, in what has been dubbed as ‘Penelopegate’. He has asked for his wife to be left out of the election, but, unfortunately in this current culture of dogmatic politics, that’s unlikely to happen.
That said, it is unlikely that Hamon will be able to make it past fourth, or if he’s very lucky, a tied third place, as no matter how popular he may be as a person, he will ultimately be let down by the sheer unpopularity of the mainstream Socialist Party. It’s like the 2016 US Presidential election in reverse. No matter how popular the “progressive” program of the Democratic Party may have been, they were ultimately let down by their deeply unpopular candidate, Hillary Clinton. (Bernie would have won. Just saying.)
So this just leaves Emmanuel Macron. I still remain cautious as to endorsing a candidate for the first round, partly due to my struggle between picking two of the best Presidential candidates I have seen in a Presidential election of any country (the other two being Alexander Van der Bellen in Austria and Bernie Sanders in America), and partly due to the fact that Emmanuel Macron’s chances may be hampered if François Bayrou, a popular politician and leader of the Mouvement Démocrate (Democratic Movement) decides to enter the race, as he may draw support away from Macron, fracturing the Plural Left even more.
That said, if I were a French citizen and the election were held tomorrow, I would spoil my ballot by casting two votes; one for Macron and one for Hamon. At this early stage, the choice is too hard.
It occurs to me I have been blogging a lot about French politics. I apologise. I aim for my next blog post to be focused on US politics, as what’s going on in terms of politics over there is a political journalist’s dream. Or nightmare. Needless to say, there’s a big need for fearless, independent journalism over there. I just hope it can hold out against the Trump political machine. After all, the chair of Breitbart is a senior White House figure. However, that is another story for another time. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that you won’t be getting any fake news, or alternative facts from this blogger.

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