French presidential elections, 2017


10 days from now, I will vote in the first round of the presidential election, and I have spend a lot of time watching debates and getting informed on the candidates.

There is so much to write about in this election. Unfortunately for you, most of my time will be spent on writing about it in French, so that I can share with my family.

However, should you be interested, or if you have comments or questions on the French elections (plural, because we have two rounds), you can use the comment section below.

You may check this first:


Round 1 and the two round system flaw.

I have encountered a news item about the upcoming election. A UK Poll show four major candidates around 20%. Macron 23%, Le Pen 22%, Fillon 19% and Mellonchon also at 19%. Then Hamon with 8%. My issue with 2 round has always been that's it's a system for the two big thirds. This time, it's not happening, and it shows this system's weakness. It's nice that the people of France get another two weeks to compare the top two, but it misses the point of democracy in a divided electorate. Compromise! I haven't looked at who is leaning which way in this one. I hope it works out for the people. But having to vote again for one of two unpopular candidates is not fair. 23% wins? Electoral reform may be the next hot topic in French politics, for the first time in over 200 years.

As you can guess, I'm

Tags:+Electoral reform +presidential elections

As you can guess, I'm spending a lot of time watching news, debates as I have a very difficult choice to make in the ballot next Sunday.

One round or two rounds, it's still Plurality Voting, with all the inherent flaws of the system. The shocking part is not the score the candidates makes in the 1st round. After all, they still get elected with over 50% of the votes after the second round. But have a close look on wikipedia at the 2002 French presidential election. Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National, the father of this year's Marine Le Pen, qualified for the second round.... He was defeated by Chirac in the second round by 18% vs. 82%. Almost any candidate who lost in the first round, including some of the ones who did very small scores, could have more or less easily defeated Le Pen. The same may still happen this year. Look above the link to the wikipedia article with the opinion polls: if Marine Le Pen does qualify, she is predicted to lose whomever is her opponent in the second round. That's the truly shocking part: the system does not even ensure that the best two candidates of the first round qualify. The Le Pens are very far right, xenophobic and fascist. I still maintain a little hope that Marine Le Pen will not qualify...

Out of 11 candidates, only 1 proposes to get rid of plurality voting. It's Cheminade who is predicted to arrive very last on Sunday, with much less than 1% of the votes. It's not even a key proposal of his. I had a hard time finding the proposal on his official web site.

Nice summary, worth watching:
France votes: 'It's very possible Le Pen won't make it to the second round'

‘I want to lead France, not Europe’: Le Pen asks for EU flag to be removed from TV debate

Both fun and

Both fun and instructive:

French Elections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

To their credit, the voters

To their credit, the voters didn’t quit after the first round in both the 2007 and 2012 elections. Clearly, the people care.
With about 80% turnout, candidates having 31% and 26% of the vote advanced in 2007. Again in 2013 the turnout was about 80%. Candidates with 29% and 27% of the vote advanced to round two. In both elections almost everybody voted again. So, the top two choices must have been reasonably popular. Or was it a matter of “the lesser of two evils” driving reluctant voters to the polls? 53% won in 2007, 52% in 2012. Very split. My concern is when candidates advance with 23% and 21%, and the other 56% see nothing worth voting for and show it by not coming out for round 2. If it is a choice between far left and far right, and there’s a 50% turnout, it will be very bad news.

6 scenarios for the second round

Yes. Participation rate is traditionally high in France, much higher than in the USA. I don't know about Canada.

Your analysis is right.

"Or was it a matter of “the lesser of two evils” driving reluctant voters to the polls?"
Yes, it was to a very large extent.

Above, I gave one reason why two-round Plurality voting is not much better than one-round. I'm going to give another reason why.

First, let's review the possible outcomes for the second round. Out of 11 candidates, we have 4 front-runners. Given the fact that 30% of the electorate is still undecided, the difference between the front runners is not meaningful and way within the margin of error. So, we have 6 different pairing scenarios for the second round.

Mélanchon: far (?) left.
Macron: center left (social democrat).
Fillon: traditional right (conservative).
Le Pen: far right, xenophobic ***.

1) Macron - Le Pen: a dilemma for the moderate right wing electorate: abstain, go with the extreme or pinch their nose and vote for Macron. Expected winner: Macron, easily but probably not as easily as predicted.

2) Macron - Fillon: a traditional Fifth Republic second round. A major defeat for Le Pen who has been expected to be in the second round for over a year. The institutions get a breath of fresh air. Expected winner: Macron although the final tally might be much closer than opinion polls currently suggest.

3) Fillon - Le Pen: a remake of 2002. The left will be pissed off. They held their nose and voted for Chirac in 2002 against Marine Le Pen's father. They'll probably do the same this year and massively vote for Fillon to block Le Pen at any cost. This might help the cause of electoral reform but not necessarily: Election Methods are barely debated in France. Expected winner: Fillon, easily.

4) Macron - Mélanchon: the revenge of 2002, the right being deprived of a representation at the second round. There are limits to the comparison, though. Mélanchon is not seen as as toxic as Le Pen is. There wouldn't be a breakdown of the institutions with Mélanchon as there would be with Le Pen. I'd love to see Macron debating Mélanchon one on one. I'd like to see more clearly how both of them differentiate himself from the other. Expected winner: Macron, by a healthy although not huge margin.

5) Mélanchon - Fillon: this would be the pairing with the most uncertain outcome. I would expect Mélanchon to win but I am not sure: it will be very close.

6) Mélanchon - Le Pen: battle of the extremes. Shock waves throughout the world. Danger for the Institutions. The very existence of the European Union put into question. Expected winner: Mélanchon.

Note that Le Pen is the Condorcet loser (loses in every situation) and Macron the Condorcet winner (he is expected to win against every body else).

Now, depending on one's ideology, and depending on which of the above 6 scenarios one dreads the most, one might decide not to vote for its favourite candidate but cast a "vote utile" (a "useful vote", i.e. vote strategically) in order to avoid having to face an impossible choice in the second round. Thus, one's vote is dictated by opinion polls. Voters might prefer Hamon, the fifth man in the race, but abandon him in order to support Macron. Our choice at the ballot box is thus dictated by what the polls tell us, not by our real preferences.

French news in English

News channel about France in English language:

Footage of 2002

See the reaction of the left in 2002 when it was announced that Jean-Marie Le Pen qualified for the second round, in the first minute of this video:

After Brexit and Trump: World waits on French presidential election (part 2)

Macron - Le Pen

From an Election Method point of view, it is interesting to note that the second round will pit the Condorcet Winner against the Condorcet Loser.
Indeed, as shown above and according to opinion polls, Macron would have won against any of the other main candidates. It is easy to extrapolate to the smaller candidates. In all, Macron wins against each of the other 10 candidates in one on one battles.
Similarly, opinion polls show that Le Pen would lose against any of the other main candidates, and would probably lose against many of the small candidates, including some of the smallest.

This demonstrates something I was mentioning above: the two-round plurality voting system does not ensure that the best two candidates are pitted against each other in the second round.

Macron is certain to win, especially since almost all other candidates call to vote against Le Pen. I would require a very major mishap, a major terrorist attack (God forbid!) or a monstrous skeleton in Macron's closet to come out to put his victory in jeopardy. Still, this election is already a major victory for Le Pen who is making major inroads in the electorate. The 18%-82% gap against Le Pen's father in 2002 has melted down to 40%-60%.

With the loss of the two traditional government parties in the first round, we have a major reshuffle of French politics and the outcome of the legislative elections coming up in June is most uncertain.

I'm not familiar with French politics.

I'm not familiar with French politics. Macron seems like another fake progressive like Trudeau or Obama.

He's a Zionist:

He supports the continuation of President Hollande's policies on Israel, also opposes the BDS movement1

He tries to exploit atrocities to kill more civilians:

In April 2017, following the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Macron proposed possible military intervention against Assad regime… [1]

That chemical attack killed at least 74 civilians.2 Airstrikes by the US-led coalition (which includes France) have killed at least 3164 civilians.3 The US-led coalition aims to kill as many civilians as possible.

He doesn't respect privacy rights:

Macron has endorsed proposals to make it mandatory for internet companies to allow the government to access encrypted communications from customers. [1]

I know Le Pen is definitely fascist. The alt-right (neo-Nazis) who helped put Trump in power love Le Pen. The alt-right literally want a second Holocaust against Jews, Muslims, and true progressives.

Neo-Nazi propaganda:

The alt-right are Dorian-types along with sophists who want to suppress all spirituality and non-sophist science. Despite this, the alt-right will exploit Christianity to call for "Christian" imperialism and modern Crusades.

There is one bad choice, and one much worse

Haha! It took me a long while for me to realize the play on word in the edited portraits of the candidates, above!

There is no good choice in this second round. As far as I am concerned, there was no good choice in the first either. I am going to vote for Macron in the second round because the other option is so much worse. There is nothing to like in Le Pen's policies and 'values'. As for Macron, I don't expect much. At least his fiscal policy is slightly going in the right direction. Note that Macron does not even present himself as a progressive.

I agree with you on the issues (Israel, privacy, etc.), but I don't like the use of the word "Zionist". The word is so misused that it has ceased to be useful in political debates. Stick to the facts which you present: facts are enough and the labels you use are only an impediment in getting your message across to other people.

I am immensely frustrated by this whole election.


Tags:-Electoral reform -Emmanuel Macron -France -Marine Le Pen -presidential elections+Zionism

I define Zionism as the movement for the creation of a state for Hebrews in the Levant. However, this would have many implications. Both Palestinians and descendants of ancient Israelis descend from the ancestral people of that region. However, some Hebrews are of purely European ancestry with no Middle Eastern ancestry but are moving to the Levant and dispossessing native non-Hebrew inhabitants of their land. A Hebrew only state would also imply that non-Hebrews (such as FS-type Palestinians) do not enjoy the same rights as Hebrews. This would be comparable to Ancient Sparta where only Dorian-types had rights while helots (FS-types) did not.

(I'll have to discuss this in more detail in a future blog post because it delves into the issue of race based on psychology rather than on skin colour.)