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.)


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

Tags apply to the whole post, not to comments. Keep tags that are the most relevant to the whole thread.

The word "Zionism" has too much baggage behind it, and may be interpreted very differently by different readers. It's better to stick to factual statements that are less prone to being misunderstood. In this context, it should be enough to say that Macron does not appear to support the Palestinian cause.

A pragmatist

I just had an opportunity to hear Macron talk about his position regarding Palestine. Even though he is already our president elect, we still don't know him that much. However, last Saturday I listened to a long interview he gave to Mediapart. It is becoming clear that he is a very pragmatist person. He is being criticized on numerous issues for not taking a strong, principled stance. Each time, he tries to explain that he is willing to walk in those direction, but he takes things one step at a time, dealing with concrete obstacles one at a time. From what he said, I believe he is trying to do the right thing. He is not against the Palestinian cause. He just want to keep communication channels open with both sides, for the sake of negotiations and diplomacy.

Saying it out loud

Funny thing happened today. a Canadian reporter covering the French Presidential election actually said Le Pen needs voters to stay home. In Canadian elections the reporters never say that. But it's a first past the post strategy that works for the big third every time. 33% of the electorate wins a majority when 35% of the electorate stays home. Election campaigns should be entirely about the positives of each candidate, and let the people decide. We know what negative ads are trying to do. Let the media compare all the candidates, and say someone stands for this or that. By not mentioning anyone else, point made. Say one of them has a "good" idea, and no one else? Opinion expressed, let someone else make the dissenting point of view for the rest.

A sad election

ran_in_93, the Canadian reporter is right. Le Pen's supporters are motivated and will go out to vote. A lot of people who are going to vote for Macron will do so only because they feel they have no choice and want to avoid the worst. If the latter category of people does not go out to vote, then Le Pen might still win. The latest polls give 63%/37% in favour of Macron, but given the surprises of Brexit and Trump, we do not dare take Macron's victory as a given. The margin of victory also matter: it will influence Le Pen's ability to present herself as the leader of the opposition. Personally, I am rooting for a 65%/35% victory for Macron.

When we see what far right parties (similar to Le Pen's party) have done in Hungary and Poland where they won legislative and executive elections, we have serious ground to be worried: regression of democracy, curtailing of the freedom of the press, etc. What is happening in Turkey is also horrifying. It all feels like 1933 Germany. I am just listening to Macron talking about some concrete proposals to improve our democracy (legislative oversight, etc.) and I am pleased by what I hear. I sadly does not include anything that would replace Plurality Voting, but it's better than nothing.

Election campaigns should be entirely about the positives of each candidate, and let the people decide. We know what negative ads are trying to do. Let the media compare all the candidates, and say someone stands for this or that. By not mentioning anyone else, point made. Say one of them has a "good" idea, and no one else? Opinion expressed,

I agree. Ideally, it should be this way.

Two days ago, we had the Le Pen / Macron debate, and it was very painful to watch. It was not far from a shouting match. Macron did his best to stay on policy issues, answer the journalist questions, etc. Le Pen's strategy was a negative one from the beginning to the end: she kept interrupting Macron, sneered, criticized without exposing her own policies, insulted Macron throughout... the next days mainstream newspaper listed 19 outright lies by Le Pen on major issues.

Macron does not fully represent me. But some of his proposals make me feel somewhat excited. If elected, I has to be an excellent president and achieve concrete results, especially in terms of reduction of our massive unemployment rate, if we don't want to have Le Pen as our president 5 years from now....

Message from Canada

stick to the issue.

This kind of name calling is not productive. Stick to the issue. You have a strong tendency to over-generalize and categorize people in neat little boxes. Reality is always more complex. With regard to the video my comment just above, I find nothing to disagree with. The general attitude of the American Republican party against science and scientists is well known. Macron's invitation to scientists is appropriate.

Political Satire

Tags:+Justin Trudeau +Paris Climate Change Targets

I don't engage in baseless name calling, only political satire rooted in facts:

8 mai 2017: Une opposition constructive au président

Cette élection présidentielle a suscité une très profonde frustration chez une majorité des électeurs. En ce qui me concerne, c'est en fait la même chose à chaque élection: malgré l'apparente profusion de choix, je ne trouve aucun candidat qui porte mes idées. Je suis finalement toujours forcé de faire un vote "utile", ou un vote par défaut, ou, dans le meilleur des cas, un vote pour un candidat qui semble incarner mes valeurs mais dont le projet concret est loin de me satisfaire. Cette élection présidentielle n'a pas été une exception.

Des pans entiers étaient absents non seulement des débats, mais des programmes des candidats eux-mêmes: aucune discussion sur de meilleurs modes de scrutin, aucune discussion sur le principe de la défiscalisation du travail, aucune discussion sur la fiscalité écologique, aucune proposition crédible pour réconcilier économie et écologie, pour réconcilier patronat et salariat, pour réconcilier souveraineté personnelle, familiale et entrepreneuriale dans une Europe forte, pour réconcilier sécurité intérieure et gestion des crises humanitaires en zones de guerre. On ne saurait avoir une France en paix ("apaisée") que dans un monde en paix, une France juste que dans un monde juste.

Cette fois-ci, il y en a vraiment marre. Mes moyens sont très limités, mais je voudrais faire de mon mieux pour que je puisse, en 2022, faire un vrai vote d'adhésion pour un candidat ou une candidate qui porte des valeurs et un projet dans lesquels je pourrai pleinement me reconnaître.

Au lendemain de l'élection de Emmanuel Macron à la présidence de la République Française, je souhaite très sincèrement qu'il réussisse. Il en va de l'intérêt de notre pays, et des valeurs républicaines qu'il a incarné dans ce deuxième tour le l'élection présidentielle. Il y a plusieurs points très intéressants et positifs dans son programme et je lui souhaite beaucoup de réussite. Sur d'autres points, le flou et le doute règnent. Sur d'autres encore, je sais d'avance qu'il ne fera pas du tout ce que j'aimerais qu'il soit fait.

Je ne suis qu'un citoyen très ordinaire, qui a du mal à trouver une personnalité politique qui puisse le représenter. Dans la mesure de mon temps et de mes moyens disponibles, j'aimerais mener deux actions de façon concurrentes: ajouter ma petite voix à une opposition constructive au président Macron, et susciter j'espère une candidature pour 2022 dans laquelle je pourrais pleinement me reconnaître.

En quelque sorte, je voudrais que le projet que je défends soit candidat à l'élection présidentielle de 2022. Je ne suis, moi même, pas candidat: d'abord, je n'ai aucune ambition personnelle à ce niveau là, et ensuite parce que je ne pense pas avoir les qualités personnelles pour assumer ce niveau de responsabilité. J'espère seulement pouvoir tisser des liens avec des personnalités de la société civile, des politiciens et des citoyens concernés afin de construire notre propre mouvement qui j'espère suscitera une candidature sérieuse.

Au cours des 5 prochaines années, le projet pour 2022 sera développé sur le site , en espérant que des éléments importants de ce projet soient déjà d'ici là mis en application par le président Macron et son gouvernement.

Travaillons ensemble pour l'intérêt de tous les français, et pour une France forte, leader d'une meilleure Europe dans un monde en paix.