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by Stephen Yellin

I'm not sure if anyone here has reported on the French Presidential election results that came out earlier today, so here goes...

France had its 1st round of the Presidential election yesterday and today (they vote on 2 days and the weekend - how democratic!). The top 2 vote-getters advance to the runoff on May 6th. Pre-election polling has shown incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy (sar-KO-zy) trailing his main opponent, Socialist Party nominee Francois Hollande (holl-OND) by a large margin in that runoff.

First, however, Sarkozy and Hollande had to get past a number of opponents in this weekend's 1st round. The good, bad and ugly results are below the line.

First, the good news: with over 87% of the vote reported (according to Google), Hollande is in 1st place with slightly under 29% of the vote. Sarkozy, the incumbent and nominee of the UMP (Union pour un Movement Populaire in French) is behind Hollande at just over 26%.

This is good news because Sarkozy is the right-of-center candidate, has encouraged right-wing rhetoric on immigration, and has worked with Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel to push for austerity measures across Europe. Hollande is in favor of a balance between debt reduction and (more importantly) economic stimulus and raising taxes on the wealthy. According to the BBC, Hollande is in favor of raising the top tax rate to 75%, which is supported by a majority of the French public. In addition, Hollande wants to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan at a quicker pace than Sarkozy.

Clearly, Hollande is the better choice in the runoff if you're a Progressive.

The 1st round result is also a great omen for Holland's chances of winning the runoff. His 30% is the best showing for a Socialist Party candidate in Round 1 since Francois Mitterand won reelection in 1988 (34% against Jacques Chirac). By contrast, 2007 nominee Segolene Royal received 26% in the 1st Round to Sarkozy's 31%. In addition, no incumbent President of the 5th Republican has finished 2nd in Round 1 and went on to win the runoff. Sarkozy needed to finish in 1st to give his campaign the chance to win the runoff. Hollande now has the "Big Mo" (as we say in America) and will be in the driver's seat for winning on May 6th.

The bad news: It was a poor showing for Jean-Luc Melanchon's left-wing coalition candidacy, as he will finish with around 11% of the vote. His campaign was aiming to finish in 3rd, but it will be far behind in that goal. It was also bad news for Francois Bayrou, the centrist who almost made it to the runoff in 2007 against Sarkozy and Royal; he finished in 5th with less than 10%. To his credit, Melanchon has publicly urged his supporters to vote for Hollande in the runoff, according to BBC reporter Christian Fraser at Socialist Party headquarters.

Now, the ugly news.  First, some context.

In 2002, the National Front Party's Jean-Marie Le Pen achieved the unthinkable. Thanks to a lackluster campaign by Socialist Party nominee Lionel Jospin and a massive splintering of the left-of-center vote, Le Pen snuck into the runoff with President Jacques Chirac.

Why is this bad? The National Front's philosophy rests on extreme, right-wing
nationalism and xenophobia, which Le Pen expressed in statements reeking of racist and (in his past) anti-Semitic rhetoric. Imagine, if you will, that your only choices for President in the United States are Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy, and you can see why over 80% of French voters went for Chirac in the 2002 runoff. Incidentally, many voters went to the polls with clothespins on their noses to express their disgust at voting for a scandal-ridden incumbent (who was prosecuted for corruption after leaving office).

In 2007, Le Pen's support dropped to 11 in Round 1 %, prompting me and others to celebrate his poor showing. It was a premature celebration.

Le Pen has passed the National Front torch to his daughter, Marine Le Pen. Shedding her father's racist past and rhetoric, Le Pen has nonetheless kept to her party's right-wing, xenophobic platform. Sarkozy, in an attempt to woo Le Pen's voters has also adopted anti-immigrant rhetoric, fueling the credibility of her message.

The ugly result is that the National Front has had its best showing - ever. As I've been typing this article, Le Pen's support has climbed up to nearly 19% of the vote. That's a stronger showing than her father received in 2002, including in the runoff!

It is a horrible turn of events, for it adds enormous credibility to Le Pen and her party's message, and will give them additional leverage in French politics in the next several years. While LePen's supporters will not flock en masse to Sarkozy (FNP voters distrust both major candidates according to news reports, and most will sit the runoff out), making it hard for the incumbent to win, he will no doubt try and court their support with more bursts of anti-immigrant rhetoric. It's like having Mitt Romney run even further to the right to try and win in November!

A final piece of news: it appears turnout will end up almost as high as in 2007, when  unprecedented voter interest led to over 70% of the electorate turning out. This time, it looks as if turnout will break 70% again despite complaints of a lackluster campaign and not enough attention paid by the candidates to the issues.

To recap, Hollande should beat Sarkozy on May 6th, but the right-wing extremists are also winners today.

Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 2:34 PM PT: WOW! Thanks to everyone who commented and recommended my diary! Also, thank you to the individual who put this in the Community Spotlight page - otherwise it wouldn't have been read as much!

I hope most of you liked the piece. I'm an old-timer here (2003!), and am glad to see I still have some creative "juice" in me. :)

- Stephen

Originally posted to stephenyellin on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 03:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Has Bayrou made an endorsement yet? (8+ / 0-)

    If he endorses Hollande, it sounds like ce match est fini.

    •  I'm not sure (4+ / 0-)

      Will try and find out and post it here.

      "We are the leaders we've been waiting for." - Paul Wellstone

      by MrLiberal on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 03:24:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. He said he would 'take his responsibilities' (17+ / 0-)

      whatever that means. Apparently he will write to Sarkozy and Hollande and submit them to some sort of test...

      Previously, he declared that he felt closer to Hollande from a humanistic point of view, but closer to Sarkozy from a programmatic point of view.

      Which makes no sense to me since Sarkozy has no programme and should he have one, he would forget about it as soon as he would be re-elected (heaven forbid).

      As I see things, Bayrou may have considered granting a lukewarm support to Sarkozy, but with Le Pen higher, and Melanchon lower, than expected (and also Bayrou much lower than he hoped) this will be more difficult. Sarkozy, instead of pivoting to the center, will probably carry on with is ineffectual attempts at seducing Le Pen's voters. As a result centrists will tend to go to Hollande irrespective of what Bayrou may say.

      Quisquis sollers subtilisque sententia a praeclaro antiquo Sapiente latine scripta, sicut consuetudo est apud Kossackos.

      by French Imp on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 03:50:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Positioning himself as a dealmaker? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, French Imp

        It sounds like Bayrou is trying to position himself as a sort of power broker, by taking an equally-interested position in both of them. Trying to sniff the wind and go where it blows. From what you and others have reported about the likely outcome, this doesn't sound like a smart move. Has his campaigning so far included similar not-smart moves?

        •  The situation is not symmetric (4+ / 0-)

          Sarkozy has alluded to the possibility of nominating Bayrou as a prime minister. Of course nobody believes what Sarkozy says. OTOH Hollande has clearly stated that his prime minister would be a socialist if he's elected. My guess is Martine Aubry, which would be great since she's more to the left than Hollande is.

          Fact is I don't see what Bayrou can hope to negociate, his popularity relies on the fact that he has always very severely criticized Sarkozy on moral grounds. I don't see him squandering that in exchange for a few seats in the Assemblee Nationale and a job in the government (which as like as not would last no more than a few months).

          Having pondered on all this since yesterday, I think that Bayrou could well announce that, on a personal basis, he'll vote for Hollande because he shares his humanistic values, while formulating reservations about his economic program. I guess that a majority of his voters will do the same if Sarkozy goes on courting the far right.

          Quisquis sollers subtilisque sententia a praeclaro antiquo Sapiente latine scripta, sicut consuetudo est apud Kossackos.

          by French Imp on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:32:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The issue of the match is - I think - (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, Nulwee, shaharazade

      independend of what Bayrou may say.  Le match est fini.

      Quisquis sollers subtilisque sententia a praeclaro antiquo Sapiente latine scripta, sicut consuetudo est apud Kossackos.

      by French Imp on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 03:58:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bayrou is probably the closest (5+ / 0-)

      to an American democrat, though I really don't see much difference with Hollande as the PS isn't all that Socialist.  I remember when the Socialist candidate was Segolene Royal (weak candidate in every sense of the word), the case for Bayrou was pretty strong.  I don't see a bad showing for Melanchon as all that awful -- insofar as there's a good left of center candidate in Hollande, the need for a protest vote is diminished.  His policies wouldn't be as good for France or the rest of the world as Hollande or Bayrou.  I'd have voted Bayrou last time but Hollande this go round.  

      My favorite thing about French politics is that Dominique de Villepin is regarded as a right wing crank.  So different from his perception in America.  I can't believe Sarkozy's been President as long as he has -- he's a total clown.

      The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

      by Loge on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:10:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps France under Hollande's leadership (3+ / 0-)

    ...might be a good alternative in case Mittch-A-Sketch Romney purchases his way into the White House, with massive amounts of secret, corporate cash from billionaires like the Koch Brothers, thanks to five of the most corrupt Supreme Court Injustices in American historcy (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts & Kennedy, in their Citizens United ruling/abomination/in-kind contribution to the Republican Party).

  •  Very good summary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, foucaultspendulum

    I'm sad Mélenchon/Front de gauche weren't able to get higher and distressed with the FN results...

  •  Looks like crisis brings increased support to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, Iberian, fladem, shaharazade

    hard-right politicians. Not too surprising. Would be interesting to see how it will show up in Greek election.

    •  There is also (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Nulwee, Sue B, Greenfinches, MRobDC

      to consider the protest vote than in a run off election makes more sense than in a winner take all

      •  There is a reason the FN prez candidates way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        outperform their parliamentary counterparts. Everyone in France knows the FN will never be president, so there is certainly a degree of protest voting. Having lived in south of France, i can tell you that many people I knew voted for Le Pen in 2002 to try to shame the FN by putting their message under a spotlight.

    •  When you think of Germany prior to WWII, it makes (3+ / 0-)

      sense. And feels pretty scary.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:26:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just heard today the conservative candidate (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Mayfly, aliasalias

      leading in Greece promising to ditch some of the austerity measures in favor of economic stimulation and some budget cuts.

      The new Czech leader is anti austerity as well. Looks like the tide has started to turn away from this horrible enforced austerity.

    •  There is a small fascist party - Golden Dawn (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, foucaultspendulum
      Many polls indicate that in the national elections scheduled for May 6, Golden Dawn may surpass the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament. The group has been campaigning on the streets, something that mainstream politicians have avoided for fear of angry reactions by voters who blame them for Greece’s economic collapse.

      Founded in the early 1980s by sympathizers of the military dictatorship that governed Greece from 1967 to 1974, Golden Dawn has always espoused a neo-Nazi ideology. Its symbol clearly resembles the swastika, and copies of “Mein Kampf” and books on the racial superiority of the Greeks are on prominent display in its Athens headquarters.

      in recent years, Golden Dawn has muted the neo-Nazi talk and focused on anti-immigrant actions in downtown Athens, where the number of illegal immigrants, most from South Asia, Albania and Africa, has exploded.

      NY Times

      I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Barack Obama

      by Mariken on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:26:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure what they're worried about. (0+ / 0-)

        If their biggest problem is immigrants, then they just need to wait.  As the Greek economy continues to implode most of those immigrants will either go home or go elsewhere.  

    •  This morning (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Chi, ColoTim, marsanges

      the Government in Holland fell over austerity.

      It is the FAR RIGHT that is fighting austerity in Holland, according to the Guardian.

      The Dutch government has been forced to offer its resignation after talks over its austerity budget for 2013 collapsed over the weekend. The political crisis was triggered by far-right leader Geert Wilders, who refused to support plans to make up to €16bn of cutbacks.

      Without the backing of Wilders' Partij voor de Vrijheid, prime minister Mark Rutte's coalition government was left without a clear majority in the Dutch parliament.

      After holding an emergency cabinet meeting today to discuss the crisis, Rutte headed to the Dutch palace for a regular meeting with Queen Beatric -- where he offered his resignation.

      The crisis in The Hague threatens to escalate the euro debt crisis, and raises new questions over the ability of eurozone leaders to enforce their new fiscal pact. It comes a day after the first round of the French presidential election was won by Francois Hollande, who has pledged to challenge Europe's focus on austerity

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:11:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In Holland the left wing wins (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I am much relieved that our government finally collapsed. I hope there will be new elections soon - living under Wilders dictate was horrible (throughout society).

        But though Wilders predictably uses a populist stance, at the moment, in the Netherlands the Socialist Party is the big winner in the polls. That could be quite significant and hopeful. The Dutch SP is actually socialist - bot like the French PS which is merely social democratic. The SP could not form a workable government on its own, but if it wins big enough it can be unavoidable in a colaition to replace the right wing and ensure that that coalition tacks substantially left.

  •  Interesting to see what effect this has (7+ / 0-)

    On Merkel and Germany as she's likely to lose her buddy.

    Le Pen winning as much as she did doesn't surprise me as Sarkozy had adopted some of the same language as the National Front legitimizing them somewhat.  Why vote for Sarkozy when you can vote for the real thing in Le Pen.

    Hey you, dont tell me theres no hope at all Together we stand, divided we fall.

    by marcvstraianvs on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 04:18:01 PM PDT

  •  From the Guardian Blog (13+ / 0-)
    Kim Willsher has been speaking to the mainly young flag-waving supporters outside the Socialist party HQ at Solferino.

    One supporter was there with her two teenage children. She said: "It's a good result for Hollande but how can we rejoice when one fith of people in France voted for Marine Le Pen. It's unforgiveable."

    A great read from the Guardian's Editor in Paris:
    We have seen two triumphs for the Europhobic far right against "Brussels" and Germany's domination of the response to the euro crisis - Marine Le Pen in France as well as the, albeit different, counterpart, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders. The rightwing Dutch government, particularly its voluble finance minister, has been among the loudest of preachers for the past two years on what the Greeks, Irish, Portuguese etc have to do.

    In addition, François Hollande's overall victory in France spells more trouble for Merkel since he is pledged to challenge German prescriptions on the single currency's rescue.

    Le Pen's performance - one in five French voting for the National Front - is another thumbs down to Merkel, eurozone fiscal pacts, and surrendering national sovereignty over budgets and fiscal policy.

    Hollande will be a cannier navigator of the contest over European economic policy-making - the tide is turning his way. But Germany is bigger, stronger, and much more successful.

    It may be that the political and the economic governance of Europe are heading in two opposed, contradictory directions.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:31:02 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the extra material (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MT Spaces, Nulwee, basquebob, shaharazade

      It bodes ill for Europe when people like Le Pen and Wilders can fit into the acceptable framework of who to vote for, by so many citizens in their country. Just as the Progressive movement has a lot of catching up to do here, so too does the Left in Europe need to catch up.

      "We are the leaders we've been waiting for." - Paul Wellstone

      by MrLiberal on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:43:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From this side of the Atlantic (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mdmslle, Nulwee, basquebob, Asak, Kurt Sperry

        the Germans look out of control.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:44:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That imples an inevitable political reaction (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mdmslle, Nulwee, basquebob

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:45:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But the Germans have good worker protections (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MoDem, shaharazade

          in their own country, far more than we have here.

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:28:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But they are driving the rest (7+ / 0-)

            of Europe off a cliff.

            It is no exageration to say that Germany has forced coups in both Europe and Italy.  

            What is really interesting is what has happened in Holland.  Holland was part of the German drive to force austerity in the rest of Europe.  But when the market turned and austerity was required in Holland that same government balked.

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:05:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Meant to say Greece and Italy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

              by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:10:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  do you mean Greece, not Europe? And as for (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the austerity, my impression is that it comes from the government of these countries themselves -- e.g., the government in the U.K. certainly seems wedded to the idea of cutting benefits and tuition subsidies, etc.
              In the last few years, at least in France and GB, they've elected leaders who are "centrists," who tend to view the world from a more conservative perspective. And that, of course, means austerity instead of stimulus.
              And we can see how well that's working!

              We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

              by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:10:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes and I did (5+ / 0-)

                and your impression is dead wrong.  

                The drive for austerity and for obsession over inflation is coming from Berlin.  The people of Greece, Italy, Ireland and now Spain don't want what is being forced on them.

                This morning the Spainish Government wanted to take the money from the ECB and give it straight to the German and French banks - rather than have the ECB give it to them and then give it to the banks.

                It is rather amazing what is happening, and it was only a matter of time until a reaction came.

                The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:13:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No -- I know the people haven't wanted the (0+ / 0-)

                  austerity (witness the riots in England), but I thought the governments were a different story -- more than willing to go along with it.
                  Are you saying that the French and British governments also objected to the austerity measures?

                  We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                  by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:18:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The British (3+ / 0-)

                    haven't been part of the push as the crisis centers on the Euro and the UK has their own currency (the the UK has adopted some austerity - though nothing close to what has happened in the South).

                    Sarkozy was tied to Merkel - and it cost him.  

                    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                    by fladem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:21:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  They haven't, really. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Tamar, fladem, native, shaharazade

                    Although the English don't fully belong to the monetary union.  But Cameron is really disassembling things over there.  As to France, Sarkozy and Merkel have this disconcerting alliance in budgetary matters.  Breaking that alliance will lead to interesting things - the two countries pushing for raw austerity together may prove to have had more effect than Germany going it alone.  Within the EU structure, the sheer population of France and Germany make it difficult to oppose a policy that both of them want, but when it's only Germany, the dynamic may change.  Or it may not.  There's a lot of people who single out the Greeks as needing to take their proverbial medicine for decades of what truly was financial misrule, but the misrule was engaged in to protect the elites and the professional class and those elites are somewhat shielded from the shock (the professional class less so).

                    I recall seeing a world map, maybe here on DKos, maybe on the LA Times, today or yesterday, that listed Italy as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, certainly one of the most in the developed world by far, although iirc the referring article was about the Americas.  Will be interesting to see what shakes out of the tree if and when this hits Italy.

                    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

                    by auron renouille on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:25:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  some Greek relatives of friends, one a journalist (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      auron renouille, fladem, shaharazade

                      the other a lawyer maybe (?), are both out of jobs. I get the impression that these were people who up until this crisis had done quite well. So what you say about the professional class seems borne out by what I've heard.

                      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                      by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:55:55 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That makes things more interesting (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        shaharazade, Tamar

                        We revolted against a govt/king that didn't seem to care what happened to us - but only when the professional classes felt ignored and disrespected.

                        Should be interesting to see what happens in Greece when their professional class starts to feel that way as well.  

                        You piss off the educated professionals at your peril. They know how to get others to follow, they know how to organize, and if you try to make them poor they WILL fight.

                        •  hope you're right. But there are an awful lot (0+ / 0-)

                          of displaced professionals in our country right now and while there does seem to be resistance to the Republicans it doesn't feel like it's all that strong (except in Wisconsin!).

                          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                          by Tamar on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:47:52 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  p.s. your description of what's happening differs (0+ / 0-)

                      from what fladem has been saying that it's all because of Germany -- I think you're saying that it's the alliance between Germany and France (actually between Merkel and Sarkozy) that's been driving this austerity push and if Sarkozy is gone, that may change things quite a bit.
                      I assume that would be for the better?
                      And I don't have a very positive opinion of Cameron either -- why hasn't his partner in the government, the Liberal Democrats, done anything to shift away from the austerity measures? I thought Cameron needed them, especially since he's been a bit shaky because of the Murdoch connection.

                      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                      by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 11:00:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ultimately it is the banskters behind all of this (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Greenfinches, ActivistGuy, Tamar, mmacdDE

                        in Europe, they are the ones making these austerity demands and usually profiteering from it.

                        The Lib Dems are a self serving lot from what I can tell. They just want to be in the coalition for their own self promotion...

                        Good to finally see more pushback from these countries, but it is far from over. The Spanish govt. is quite right wing. Ultimately the austerity measures benefit the RW parties that implement them as they can bankrupt the voters and institutions related to their opposition parties.

                      •  It is more accurate (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        to say that is has been both Merkel and Sarkozy.  But the policy is really being dictated by the Germans.

                        The Germans are also behind the insane ECB policy.

                        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                        by fladem on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:35:26 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  p.s. didn't several European leaders give (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fladem, wu ming

                  Obama a hard time for pushing for stimulus spending? I think it was when he met with them in 2009.

                  We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                  by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:20:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Berlin is just the mouthpiece... (5+ / 0-)

                  The drive for austerity isn't coming from Berlin.

                  It's coming from Frankfurt, the staunch ally of Wall Street and the City of London.

                  The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who never viewed the world - Alexander von Humboldt

                  by germanliberal on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:46:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I nearly wrote Frankfurt (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    as it is the center of finance (I go to Frankfurt frequently) but in the end it is the politicians that are behind it.

                    Much of the austerity is really about bailing out German and French banks which are far more leveraged than the American ones.

                    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                    by fladem on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:37:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  don't forget the french banks (0+ / 0-)

                    they don't have as much clout, but they're working the same con job.

            •  Sorry, what happened here in Italy (3+ / 0-)

              was not a coup.  Berlusconi's government was mired in conflict and was at the brink anyway; market speculation finished him off.  (Fact was that Berlusconi's own bottom line was being hurt in the market melée, otherwise he would never have given up.)  The appointment of Monti as PM of a technical government was achieved through a constitutional, democratic process.  

              Greece and Italy are incomparable in terms of austerity.  There are Greek people on the brink of starvation because of the cuts.  People are definitely hurting in Italy, and it's going to get worse this summer with a new property tax and the VAT going up to 23%, but the country's woes are largely due to 10 years of economic stagnation and, now, a rising unemployment rate.  

              If I understand the situation correctly, the main thing that Germany is doing to Italy right now is controlling central bank interest rates:  Mario Draghi wants them to go up, Merkel wants them low.  

              •  Italy's Economic Stagnation (0+ / 0-)

                goes back much further than 10 years.  Monti was chosen as designated Eurocrat to implement austerity at the behest of the ECB and whose economic policy seems primarily driven by lo spread, the difference in borrowing rates between Italy and Germany.

                The Italian economy is hard to read as it is hugely grey market, any official figures will necessarily not include a huge off the books component.  Almost any retail sector is in permanent danger of being turned upside down at any moment by another Guardia Finanza blitz.  In Tuscany houses are still routinely bought and sold using suitcases full of Euro and the systemic corruption of the Berlusconi era hardly elicited a raised eyebrow.  

                Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

                by Kurt Sperry on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:23:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  as they demand the workers of greece, spain (0+ / 0-)

            ireland, portugal, italy, etc. slash their wages, and gut their pensions and protections.

            german banks are colonizing europe. best hopes for german voters eventually coming to their senses and putting the austerians out of power.

          •  Things look great for Germany (0+ / 0-)

            They are basically sucking the blood out of the rest of Europe, so things are going great there even as they collapse everywhere else.  It's no wonder Germans are so upbeat and so intent on forcing austerity on everyone else since they aren't suffering in the least, and instead are benefiting from the perverted economic situation.  

        •  you mean what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          'no longer in control'?  This isn't quite the same as being 'out of control' - is it.

          I don't know - they have power in the eurozone because they are in a good financial position.  The drawback is that then what suits Germany is what gets done, even if it doesn't suit others - which has been the case for a while.

          I doubt that they are delighted about the finances of other countries.  The market (lovely people) decided that Greece and Italy were a mess, but then that is probably right;  Greece's books were iffy and Italy doesn't collect taxes well.  

          Will Germany work with a new French government - of course.  They will try to steer the Eurozone ship the way they want, as ever, and the sooner the euro is working properly the better off we will all be.

          •  The problem is they are hypocritical as hell... (0+ / 0-)

            Back in the early 2000s when Germany was struggling did they apply a prescription of austerity?  No they did not.  They're fine with filling prescriptions for austerity, but they aren't willing to take their own medicine.  

            The big problem with the Euro right now is Germany.  Forget kicking Greece out, it would be best if Germany were kicked out.  The fact is, Germany is the one whose economy is not correlated with the other countries' economic situation.  Their economy is doing fine, and their policy prescription makes sense from their standpoint, but almost no one else's.  

            If Germany leaves and takes a few of the other creditor nations with them, then the rest of the Euro can devalue to become more competitive which is much more efficient and effective than getting there using severe austerity.  Germany meanwhile wouldn't be able to take parasitic advantage of the cheaper Euro which makes their exports more competitive.  Instead they could choke on their highly valued DM which would kill their exports and bring their unemployment rate up to 10% just like the rest of Europe.  

    •  The guardian liveblog of the results (5+ / 0-)

      was quite insightful, with some very interesting tidbits:

      Pollsters views on this diverge, but it is clear that a large part, perhaps 20 - 30 percent could abstain. Of the remaining Le Pen voters, far from all of them would transfer to Sarkozy.

      At Le Pen's last rally in Paris this week, I met a handful of public sector workers, for example, who worked in the tax offices and benefits agencies. All were voting Le Pen in the first round. But most of them said they would abstain or vote Hollande in the final run-off because they were angry at Sarkozy, particularly his policy of not replacing one in two public sector workers who retire.

      Bolding mine - basically, Sarkozy has pissed off his electorate.  

      Meanwhile, Melanchon and Hollande seem pretty comfy and the 80+% transfer rate from exit polls seems very likely.  

      Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

      by sacrelicious on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:58:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I bet Sarkozy tacks hard to the right (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, basquebob, MJB, shaharazade

    to pick up votes before the final round

    You could be listening to Netroots Radio. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 08:49:23 PM PDT

    •  He doesn't have much choice. (0+ / 0-)

      Sarkozy's pitch over the next two weeks has to be aimed at the Le Pen crowd.

      Look at the polling numbers in the HuffPo link in MoDem's comment below.

      Assuming that those polls are in the correct range, Sarkozy has little chance of winning in the runoff unless he gets at least 80% of Le Pen's voters.  

      Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

      by MJB on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:50:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's no surprise the far-right is doing well. (8+ / 0-)

    They're fueled by crises and other peoples' despair.

    The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it. --George Carlin

    by Charles Garnaat on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 08:52:18 PM PDT

  •  Thanks so much for this summary. I knew (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sarkozy was (happily) in trouble, but hadn't followed who the different candidates were. Your descriptions are really helpful and it looks like we may have something to celebrate.
    I share your concern about the right wing. My understanding is that France has the highest percentage of immigrants of any country in Europe and I'd hate to see them become a target for violence.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:19:21 PM PDT

  •  I hope (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, shaharazade

    Hollande does win but the extreme right wing numbers are very troubling.

    "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

    by angry hopeful liberal on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:25:27 PM PDT

  •  The initial split in the second round (4+ / 0-)

    HuffingtonPost French edition is reporting the initial polling for how the voters for the other candidates will split.

    Go here.

    Even if you don't understand French you can see the breakdown. sans avis means no opinion.

    Hollande gets anywhere from 18 to 30% of the Le Pen vote with 20% having no opinion.  That no opinion group may very well stay home.

    Bayrou's vote splits 1/3 for Hollande, 1/3 for Sarkozy, and 1/3 with no opinion.

    Apparently, turn out was much higher than expected for this first round.

    Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

    by MoDem on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:51:49 PM PDT

    •  Those Bayrou numbers vary quite a bit in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      different polls, but the variation shows it breaking for either Sarkozy or Hollande or dead even, so calling it 1/3d each slices that question down the middle as best as one can.

    •  The LePen Numbers Are The Most Important (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The key question about LePen's success last night is how much of her support was a right-of-center vote that is really just anti-Sarkozy, and how much is hard-core FN.  Granted, the fear of Muslim immigrants and the loss of French identity is palpable.  Marine LePen is also a smart and eloquent politician, and at first glance much more palatable than her over-the-top father.   I can see how a low-information right-of-center voter could be seduced by her.

      There's no way that a hard-core LePen supporter jumps all the way over the political spectrum to support Hollande.   That person either stays at home or reluctantly votes for Sarkozy.  It is quite possible that a center-right voter who is anti-Sarkozy could vote for Hollande, however, on the theory/rationalization that the difference  between the two is really not that great.  The poll numbers in the HuffPost suggest that the number of center-right voters in this category may not be insignificant.  

      We'll find out in two weeks, in any event.

    •  Yeah, that's confusing me. (0+ / 0-)

      It looks like the vast majority of Le Pen voters will go for Sarkozy, giving him an easy win over Hollande.  Hence, I'm a little confused why Hollande's camp is just about declaring victory.

      •  The numbers are better for Hollande, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        reason being he'll get all of Melenchon's 10% (Melenchon endorsed Hollande and was in the Socialist party until 2008. Add in 1/3 to 1/2 of Bayroux's numbers and Hollande gets over 50%. Polls show Hollande winning the 2nd round already at 54%.

        The reason Le Pen's voters don't all go to Sarkozy to put him on top are numerous, but in part the whole country is tired of Sarkozy and his antics, and some in the right who supported Le Pen won't vote for Sarkozy because there is a strain of working class populism against the establishment which has often been part of Le Pen's constituency. Her FN party supports public govt. workers and opposes privatization, so while the anti-immigrant stances remind us of the GOP, the FN is a different animal from a US right wing.

        It's not a done deal of course, and Sarkozy could still win.

  •  Do they have exit polls to say which issues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are driving the election (specficially Le Pen's support?)   Is it anti-immigrant or something else?

  •  Great diary with valuable perspective and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    explanations.  Thank you!

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:19:35 PM PDT

  •  What on earth is it with the far right in Europe? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, shaharazade

    A lot of people correctly see a lot of anti-Muslim bigotry in the US but I'd rather be Muslim in the US than in Europe (or at least the continental states - France, Switzerland, the Low Countries... even Germany has a somewhat nervous relation with its large Turkish population).  Be it Switzerland trying to ban mosques or the French social structure pushing Muslim immigrants into suburban ghettos, I simply don't get it.  It's very disconcerting.  I know we faced similar questions when Jörg Haider's Freedom Party briefly dominated the Austrian political commentariat.

    I would have thought that France, which suffered dearly during the war, really would have not come full circle to flirt with what is essentially a watered-down version of the Nazi ideal without the killing part - socialism for me, but not for thee (re-wrote that a few times to avoid Godwining myself but really, this is one of the few times that the word is applicable in discussion here).

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:38:22 PM PDT

    •  My opinion (0+ / 0-)

      I think part of the Muslim community anyway - in France particularly, seem to take advantage of the system. I know that sounds an awful lot like "the welfare queen" myth, and I don't mean to sound like that, but my daughter lives there and I've seen firsthand why some of the French can be prejudiced.  There is a small group of young male and - well for that matter - older male Muslims that put a bad taste in some people's mouths.  My daughter and her friend were physically harassed by a group of young Muslim guys that they had to go to the police for, and it's a lot like inner city youth here.  Some of them put their women and children on the streets to beg. Here in America we are all for freedom of religion.  In France, it is about equality.  Women will be treated equally.  Burquas are not equal. Not good behavior.

      "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

      by dancerat on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 11:44:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i guess europe's white population has a different (0+ / 0-)

      situation than america. In america white people have no indiginous claim to this land. White europeans do have an indiginous claim to europe though. You wouldn't think it xenophobic when the american indians attempted to run off white people here in america. It's not an all together bad thing. Despite the fact that the muslim popultion in europe tends to vote for the left for favorable immigration status it still stands that most muslims who come to europe from turkey and the middle east are further right than Rick Santorum. The election system is different there too. Everyone knows that France's muslim population is high and that muslim population is HIGHLY fertile. Right now they make up about 10% of the population. They only need 30% to win elections thanks to having a multiple party system. I can forsee the nation taking a hard right, at least on social issues.

  •  Is Le Penn an Israel supporter? (0+ / 0-)

    It seems the rising right-wing parties of Europe are all becoming more supportive of as Israel (probably as a way to attack Muslims).

  •  Scary local results. (7+ / 0-)

    In my tiny town in Upper Provence, which saw a whopping 84% turnout (yes, 84%), I was shocked to see that Le Pen came in first with 26.5%, Hollande second at 25.2%, and Sarkozy third at 22.7%. Although I recently became aware of how racist and homophobic a near neighbor is, I didn't realize that that mindset was so widespread here. When times are tough, people look for scapegoats instead of for real solutions, hélàs.

    I think Hollande will win (touche bois = knock on wood). But hell yeah, it's scary to see someone with ideas as radically crazy and racist gain such a foothold in France. Sarkozy pandered to the far right, too, but he's been so unpopular for so long that it didn't work for him — just made Marine Le Pen look "reasonable."


    •  en Provence, ça m'étonne pas (5+ / 0-)

      It's no surprise; Provence and the PACA region (the southeastern corner of France) have always been Le Pen's stronghold.  It's got a lot of pieds noirs who were exiled from Algeria when it became independent, and who are extremely bitter about that, compounded by the immigration of Algerians then coming to France right afterward.  It's the first stop for many immigrants from North Africa, so the immigration issue is front-and-center.  

      I'm afraid if you live there you'll have to put with frontiste neighbors forever.  But still, it beats Texas

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:47:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rural areas in Europe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are hard Right.  You can find really awful, irresponsible, xenophobia and fascist attitudes if you look closely just about anywhere in rural areas.  

      European governments do their best to keep cities in charge and spread what money they can afford to the rural areas to mollify the problem.  The rural people are sort of okay with this arrangement.

      •  quite so. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But rural areas - at least in the part of germany where I come from, used to be "just" extremely conservative. In the original meaning of the word (not the American). (That means, kind of like Pope Ratzinger - not quite fascist). It is disconcerting that that apparently is changing - see Italy where immigrants have been stoned, or eastern germany, or other places.

        •  I wonder how long it will take to get to (0+ / 0-)

          the point of roving death squads in some of those areas.  I also wonder if the governments will have the ability and will to actually do something about such death squads should they come about.

          There is no saving throw against stupid.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:19:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  No matter how you slice and dice it.. (0+ / 0-)'s a return to nationalism in Europe and the beginning of the end for the EU.  IMHO Nigel Farage is and has been pretty much on point throughout this whole European drama.

    •  That's how I see it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I still believe that ultimately Greece will be forced to withdraw from the EU.  The Greek people can take anymore austerity imposed on them by the IMF banksters.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:09:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Farage is kind of hilarious, in his own way. (0+ / 0-)

      Von Rompuy's obviously silent loathing of him always cracks me up.

    •  how (0+ / 0-)

      is Hollande´s win over the nationalist Sarkozy a "return to nationalism" in Europe? If anything its the opposite.

      •  A fair question (0+ / 0-)

        I don't mean the xenophobic jackbooted flavor of nationalism, rather a series of policies and positions that is less internationalist and interventionist.  Hollande is on record as wanting to renegotiate the fiscal pact underlying the Eurozone fiscal deal.  He has been a consistent critic of the Greek bailout, and seems far more concerned with domestic issues than does Sarkozy.  Isn't putting the needs of one's own country first a form of nationalism?  Seems to me it is, but, hey, I'm a retired software developer, not a political scientist. :)

    •  using the EU to push neoliberal austerity (0+ / 0-)

      was the end of the EU. we're just seeing the ripples from that cinder block the banksters hucked into the pond.

  •  I am flying to Paris this morning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mariken, foucaultspendulum

    Ten minutes after I post this I will be leaving for the airport to fly (after a stop in Philly) to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.  We will be in Paris until next Saturday and will then board a train for Barcelona.

    We will visit Barcelona, Toledo, and Madrid over the next week.

    In short, we are flying into the eye of the storm.  Spain is experiencing a full-blown depression.  France is doing badly.  

    It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Parisians will share with tourists.

  •  Joli, le résumé! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for the summary!  

    I read that the pollsters were kicking themselves for putting Melenchon so high.  But still, 11% for a far-left candidate is very high, and the most since the Communist candidate nearly made the run-off in '69.  

    This was a guy who wanted to revisit free-trade agreements and tax any income over 30,000€/month at 100%, all while instituting an American-style system of expat taxation.  That is, the rich and famous couldn't skip out on French taxes by moving to Switzerland.

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:52:09 AM PDT

    •  Monaco Moreso Than CH (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as a tax haven.  One can become a Monogasque given sufficient wealth even if one hardly ever visits the principality.

      Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

      by Kurt Sperry on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:29:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  one can make an argument (0+ / 0-)

      for both le pen (in part) and melenchon reflecting a similar economic reaction against austerity and EU neoliberal banksterism. the FN have some awful racist political positions, and their rise is bad news, but it may also signal a as to yet unrepresented groundswell against the merkel-sarkozy austerity.

      it's not as nice as if melenchon had been the one breaking 20%, to be fair, but there's an opening to go left economically for hollande and the PS if they're smart.  

  •  The elder Le Pen got 18% in 2002 (0+ / 0-)

    in the second round. 19% isn't much different.

    •  Le Pen got 16.86% in the *first* round that year (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueness, charliehall2

      Second and first round votes are really not comparable, since Chirac got more than 80% the second round.

      Something that makes your point even better however is that Le Pen got 16.86% in the first round that year, and his daughter yesterday only got 17.9%.

      So all the scare stories about a shocking and historic "surge", meh, not so much, it was barely higher than what their party got ten years ago. News outlets are able to sensationalize it as "historic" because it's barely more than one percentage point higher than the next highest, and as a "surge" by comparing it to 2007, when Jean Marie Le Pen got 11%, instead of to five years before that when he got nearly 17%.

      It was a shock in 2002 of course, but that had a lot to do with how bad Lionel Jospin's showing was, so le Pen got into the second round instead of him. Crackpots getting double digits is somewhat rare but not all that much really.

  •  20% abstention, almost 20% Le Pen ? (0+ / 0-)

    What's with the French?

    If FH is going to win this, he has to get people who didn't vote in the 1er tour (or who voted MLP) to come out and vote for him in fairly large numbers. If you just assume that only those who already voted will vote, and that  “right” voters will continue to vote on the right (Sarkozy/UMP) and “left” voters on the left (Hollande/PS), then it all comes down to the MoDem voters, and how likely is it that Bayrou will ask his supporters to vote for the PS?

    If you don't count Bayrou votes, you get 43.76% “left” votes and 47.12% “right” votes. If all Bayrou voters joined the abstainers, or if they split right down the middle, NS would win. Even if all Bayrou voters voted for FH, it's only 52.89, a win, but no landslide. If they all voted for Sarkozy, he would get 56.25%, which could be considered a landslide.

    On the other hand, perhaps it isn't clear that all of MLP's voters will vote for Sarkozy, I think a lot of people voted for her in order to avoid voting for NS. Perhaps they will abstain in the second tour; a large number of new abstentions mostly from 1er tour MLP voters would be another path to the Élysée for Hollande.

    •  Hollande will win. Plus.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The news in France is that none, zero, of the other of the ten candidates is telling their supporters to vote for Sarkozy.

      Marine Le Pen included. Also polls show that possibly half of her voters would vote for Sarkozy, but no more. And those are the right wing voters he's been desperately courting, throwing all caution to the wind and just sounding as anti-immigrant and racist as he wants.

      Dozens and dozens of polls have Hollande winning the second round handily.

      I'm not sure what's with the French that's not with any other country, Rick Santorum is no more moderate than the Le Pens and you could consider him getting 18% (she didn't get 20%, that's a scare figure) just by virtue of how he did in the primaries. Had he become the nominee, which is unlikely but was possible, he certainly would have gotten 18%.

      We have so many extreme right wing political figures, whereas France's vote yesterday was split between a Nixonian conservative (Sarko, for how much I despise him, is considerably to the left of Nixon actually, plus it's apples and oranges, but that's close), a Communist, a Socialist, and what we would consider a liberal.

      And the Socialist will be the President.

      Just to keep things in perspective.

  •  Since Le Pen has not endorsed Sarkhozy (0+ / 0-)

    I assume she is holding out for something. Any idea what that will be?

    I have never been able to figure out if Fox is the propaganda arm of the Republican party or is the Republican Party the political subsidiary of Fox.

    by Dave from Oregon on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:20:30 PM PDT

  •  austerity will fuel right-wing parties in Europes (0+ / 0-)

    just like in the 30 ties.

    Nazis and Communists win when capitalism fails the middle class.

    It is time to end the austerity infection. Hollande - please win this

  •  You forgot Marine Le Pen (0+ / 0-)

    You forgot Marine Le Pen... She the real danger, she’s got le pen in hand….
    As France’s economy spirals downward this anti-Semitism that’s growing by leaps and bounds is only going to get ___

    Speaking of a French Jewish journalist who complained of being thrown out of the party's gala dinner, beaten and receiving racial abuse, Mr Le Pen said his origins "could neither be seen on his (press) card, nor on his nose." Unbelievable!

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:12:46 PM PDT

  •  Given that Hollande seems likely to win, (0+ / 0-)

    what do people think the economic impact be, for France and Europe? Maybe not much of a huge change?

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