domingo, 5 de fevereiro de 2017

Les sept points forts du discours de campagne de Marine Le Pen à Lyon / France election: Far-right's Le Pen rails against globalisation

Marine Le Pen a lancé sa campagne le 5 février à Lyon au Palais des Congrès en se présentant comme la «candidate de la France du peuple» face à «la droite du fric, la gauche du fric».

France election: Far-right's Le Pen rails against globalisation
5 February 2017

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has launched her presidential election manifesto with a twin attack on globalisation and radical Islam.
The candidate of the National Front (FN) told supporters in the eastern city of Lyon that globalisation was slowly choking communities to death.
Her party is promising to offer France a referendum on EU membership if a renegotiation of terms fails.

France goes to the polls on 23 April in one of the most open races in decades.

The incumbent Socialist President, Francois Hollande, is not standing for a second term.
The FN is styling itself as the original anti-establishment party, with its leader hoping to cash in on the "time for change" feeling generated by Donald Trump's election and the Brexit vote in Britain.
BBC Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson says the party, which has never won more than a third of the popular vote, has been trying to soften its image recently, in order to broaden its appeal.
Opinion polls suggest Ms Le Pen will win the first round but lose the second.
'Local revolution'
Arguing that the FN was the party of the French people, Ms Le Pen said she wanted a "free, independent and democratic country".
Globalisation, she said, meant "manufacturing by slaves for selling to the unemployed" while the FN solution was a "local revolution" guided by "intelligent protectionism and economic patriotism".
She said the EU was a "failure" which had "kept none of its promises", and she promised to renegotiate French membership fundamentally, and would call a referendum on leaving if the attempt failed.

The mood was somewhere between football match and rock concert.
Tiny brooches pinned to the chests of 3,000 supporters flashed red-white-and-blue in the dimmed auditorium; impromptu renditions of the French national anthem flowed across the crowd, interspersed with boisterous chants of "on est chez nous" - "we are at home" - the unofficial slogan of the FN.
Ms Le Pen's promises have won her enough support, polls say, to win the first round of the presidential contest.
Her problem lies in winning the second. In the run-offs, her rivals have always managed to attract votes from other parties; Marine Le Pen has not.
Now, with the centre-right candidate Francois Fillon currently battling a financial scandal, she could end up facing the liberal former banker, Emmanuel Macron - a man running his first ever election campaign. If so, France will be faced with the prospect of choosing its next president from two political outsiders.
Referring to the knife attack at the Louvre this week, she warned of the threat of radical Islam, painting a dark picture of a France under the "yoke of Islamic fundamentalism" where women would be "forbidden to enter cafes or wear skirts".
France has about five million Muslims - the largest Islamic minority in Western Europe.
Earlier, FN deputy leader Florian Philippot predicted a new appetite for politics inspired by Brexit and Mr Trump.
"People are waking up," he told the audience in Lyon on Sunday. "They see Brexit, they see Trump and they're saying to themselves: 'It's worth going to vote'."

Mr Macron seeks to woo left and right alike
The independent former banker, Emmanuel Macron, was also in Lyon this weekend, with a radically different vision for France: pro-Europe and pro-free trade.
The former Socialist economy minister set up his own party, En Marche (On The Move) only last year.
With the centre-right candidate, Francois Fillon, battling a financial scandal, Mr Macron's chances of reaching the 7 May run-off and challenging Ms Le Pen have risen.

The man on the move
The Socialist Party recently chose radical leftist Benoit Hamon as its candidate. He is currently trailing the other three candidates by a few percentage points in opinion polls.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, the hard left's candidate, also spoke from Lyon on Sunday, appearing as a hologram in Paris simultaneously.

The candidate being given about 10% in opinion polls called for redistribution of wealth and spoke against the EU.
The choice of Lyon, France's prosperous third-largest city after Paris and Marseille, as the platform for three of the top five candidates to make major speeches or launch campaigns appeared unusual to some.
According to 20 Minutes (in French), the FN picked it because it was central and easily accessible, as well as "the capital of the Gauls"; Mr Macron was drawn by its traditions of humanism and economic liberalism; and Mr Melenchon relished a challenge.

The French election that really matters
And it’s not the one to choose a president.


PARIS — It’s nice to be elected French president. But it doesn’t amount to much if you don’t have a majority in parliament to implement your program.

The scenario looks increasingly likely this year. Two of the top three contenders for the presidency don’t have a well-oiled party machine to help them win the parliamentary elections due in June, one month after the presidential vote. And the third might only be able to count on a divided party.

That makes the June elections as important — if not more important than — the higher-profile presidential contest. Particularly in the case of the two insurgents running strong this year a split result in the two polls would leave a hobbled new executive at the Élysée Palace, possibly paralyzing the French political system.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen heads a party, the National Front, that has always struggled to win elections on a national scale. In spite of its constant rise over the last few years, it has only two deputies in the 577-member National Assembly.

Upstart Emmanuel Macron, the former economy minister, broke ranks with the Socialist Party. In April last year, he created what he still calls a “movement,” En Marche, which has never fielded candidates in any election, local or national.

As for François Fillon, the candidate from mainstream conservative party Les Républicains, he may look like the only one who can count on a big, professional machine experienced in managing elections. But Fillon — currently embroiled in allegations he used public funds to pay family members for fake jobs — could find it difficult to unite a party whose divisions were exposed by the battle for the presidential nomination last year. If elected, he may face a group of rebellious conservative MPs, and lack the authority to implement his hard-right platform.

Cohabitation frustration

The French constitution is an odd hybrid of the presidential and parliamentary systems usually seen in Western democracies. On one hand, the president is elected by popular vote — which makes them the nation’s true political leader. On the other hand, the prime minister selected by the president must be supported by a majority in parliament.

This spells trouble when voters choose a parliament in opposition to the president. It reduces the head of state to a figurehead, akin to northern European monarchs or ceremonial presidents such as those of Germany or Italy. In those times, the prime minister holds most of the executive powers, save for those governing foreign policy and defense, which the constitution puts specifically in the president’s domain.

This awkward power-sharing arrangement has its own word in the French political lexicon: cohabitation. It has happened three times in postwar history — first from 1986 to 1988, when Socialist President François Mitterrand had to live with Jacques Chirac as prime minister. From 1993 to 1995, Mitterrand had to deal with another conservative premier, Édouard Balladur. And finally, from 1997 to 2002, President Chirac had to contend with Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

Needless to say, none of the interested parties later remembered the cohabitation experience as a happy one.

The risk this time is limited by the proximity of both elections, said Bruno Cautrès, a political scientist and pollster at CEVIPOF, the research center at Sciences Po university. In 2000, a constitutional reform shrank the presidential mandate from seven to five years, in order to limit the possibility of both branches of government pulling in different directions.

“The idea was that it was unlikely that voters would change their minds within a few weeks and deny their elected president a parliamentary majority,” he said.

That could be different if Le Pen wins the presidency – an unlikely scenario for now – and shocked French voters then rush to the polls to elect a parliament tasked with curbing her powers, noted a senior official from Les Républicains.

“I don’t see how she can get a majority of MPs in parliament unless a significant chunk of our guys decide to join her,” he added.

Mainstream alliance

The French majority voting system, with two rounds, allows parties to strike deals in the week before the runoff. A tacit or overt alliance between the left and the mainstream right has in the past managed to deny the National Front much of a presence in the lower house.

Marine Le Pen's niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen, during a parliamentary session
Marine Le Pen’s niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, during a parliamentary session | Ian Langsdon/EPA
Le Pen has previously indicated she has no objection to the cohabitation system. Asked in 2014 what she would do if her party won a parliamentary election that François Hollande was rumored to be considering, she replied that she was ready to work under the Socialist president. “He will inaugurate, he will commemorate, he does that very well. He will bend, or resign,” she said.

Whether she would be so relaxed about cohabitation if she were the one reduced to inaugurating and commemorating is another matter.

Macron, for his part, is intent on making sure he gets a cooperative parliament and has devoted a lot of attention to the matter in the last two months, said an aide.

First he wants En Marche — his eight-month-old movement — to field candidates in every electoral district. He has also put out the message that he wants to “renew” parliament, and called for people from “civil society” — i.e. non-professional politicians — to apply online if they want to run. Candidates will then be chosen by an independent commission. Finally, Macron has warned sitting MPs from left or right who want to rally behind his banner that En Marche would not feel bound to endorse them in the June election.

That last bit has been greeted with skepticism. “Say you’ve got a good MP with a strong chance of being reelected who wants the En Marche label, you’re not going to mess around with that and tell him thanks but no thanks,” said a Socialist Party official sympathetic to Macron’s ideas.

“A weak president unable to govern in a hostile faceoff with an atomized parliament? You’re talking major chaos” — Socialist official
If voters elect a parliament hostile to the president, the head of state could choose to dissolve the National Assembly and call new elections. The risk there is that voters confirm or even amplify their first vote. Then the president would have to wait another year before they can dissolve the lower house again — meaning at least a year of cohabitation.

There is also a scenario that a Macron aide said would be worse than a president facing an opposing parliamentary majority: a parliament with no dominant faction, preventing the formation of a majority block in the National Assembly.

“A weak president unable to govern in a hostile faceoff with an atomized parliament?” the Socialist official said. “You’re talking major chaos.”

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