Author Topic: Hotair: France’s ruling Socialists lose big in local elections  (Read 310 times)

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Offline Oceander

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France’s ruling Socialists lose big in local elections

posted at 6:31 pm on March 30, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Back in January, Socialist French President Francois Hollande promised to turn the disastrously foundering ship that is the French economy around, apparently having realized that his erstwhile agenda of taxing the heck out of businesses and millionaires wasn’t going anywhere, by instead instituting tax cuts for businesses that the government hoped would boost the country’s competitiveness. Those tax cuts have yet to materialized, and in February, France’s unemployment rate again ticked upward — which was announced just in time for municipal elections this week. They didn’t go too well for the Socialists, as you might imagine. Via the Financial Times:

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    French President François Hollande is expected to launch a rapid shake-up of his Socialist government following a second defeat in local elections on Sunday, with big gains for the main opposition UMP party and far-right National Front. …

    The main winner of the night was the centre-right UMP, party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. It was set to gain more than 100 municipalities, capturing a majority of larger towns from the ruling party, including Toulouse, Reims, Angers and St Etienne.

    According to one exit poll, the UMP and its allies won 49 per cent of the vote in all towns larger than 3,500 inhabitants, against 42 per cent for the Socialists and other parties of the left, and 9 per cent for the FN.

    Jean-François Copé, head of the UMP, said the results represented a “blue wave” against Mr Hollande’s government, demanding that the president “absolutely must change policy”.


It hasn’t taken long for the “pink” wave toward Hollande’s Socialist party during his own election less than two years ago to reverse course, with most of the gains going toward the center-right UMP party — but the country’s much more right-wing National Front is getting increasing attention from voters. Robert Zaretsky at Foreign Policy compares the conservatism spreading rapidly throughout the country as Socialism’s massive economic failures mount to the quick rise of the Tea Party as a reaction to big spending and ObamaCare:

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    What they had to say echoes what Texas conservatives, in particular the Tea Party stalwarts, have been saying for some time: Less federal government (whether D.C. or Brussels), more traditional values, and please, no more immigrants trying to change things around here.

    To be sure, close to 40 percent of voters spoke by refusing to speak at all: Never before has the abstention rate been so high in a French election. As with the Texas Democrats — scarcely half a million turned out to vote in the most recent primary — voter abstention is the ruling Socialist Party’s greatest fear. And the problem has only gotten worse as the approval ratings of national leaders have plummeted. François Hollande continues to go in public esteem where no French president has ever gone before: Just before the elections, a poll taken by the newspaper Le Figaro placed his approval rating at 17 percent. (For a little perspective, Obama’s approval ratings in Texas are hovering at just above 30 percent.)

    Whether it reflected widespread apathy or hostility, France’s unprecedented abstention rate benefitted the conservative opposition’s base.


A lot of what’s uniting the conservative third party has to do with anti-immigration, anti-SSM, and anti-abortion sentiments, but it looks like pretty much all French Socialism has achieved so far is rapidly pushing more and more French citizens in the rightward direction.

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Social conservatives are mobilizing in France, leading to talk of a tea party
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By Anthony Faiola


 PARIS — Steeped in conservative rage and tasting of grass roots, a political backlash has traditional politicians and the news media asking the once-unthinkable: Is le tea party brewing in France?

If it were, it would be populated by the likes of Catherine Mas-Mezeran, a Parisian mother of three who wrinkles her nose at the mention of President François Hollande. She calls him “the Socialist,” which, technically, he is. But if President Obama had the birthers, Hollande now has the baptismists.

Like others in a growing movement here, she firmly believes an unsubstantiated rumor emanating from conservative circles that Hollande may have secretly renounced his Christianity. “He has rejected his baptism,” she said. “This is really shocking.”

An Elysee Palace spokesman responded, “This rumor is as ridiculous as it is unfounded.”

The movement’s strength in numbers, however, cannot be ignored. Initially a reaction to a same-sex marriage law passed last year, the movement has morphed into the most sustained mobilization of social conservatives here in more than a generation.

A reinvigorated right delivered a devastating blow to Hollande in Sunday’s local elections across the country, prompting a humbled Hollande to reshuffle the French government on Monday. He replaced Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault with Interior Minister Manuel Valls, a politician considered more palatable by some on the right.

Results of the runoff vote showed the far-right National Front scoring its biggest victory ever, taking 11 towns and a major district in Marseille in part by appealing to outraged residents. The left ceded more than 150 other cities to the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Losses by the Socialists also reflected economic doubts and disenchantment with Hollande. But across Europe — a continent often viewed on the other side of the Atlantic as a bastion of liberal thought — several nations are in the throes of their own full-blown culture wars, and perhaps nowhere are they raging quite as fiercely as in France.

Tens of thousands of people are taking to the streets in repeated protests, many for the first time in their lives. They are organizing assemblies and social-media campaigns even as some angry newcomers run against incumbents on the right whom they consider not socially conservative enough.

A show of strength on French streets in February led Hollande to backtrack on a measure that opponents feared could have helped same-sex couples have children through in vitro fertilization and surrogacy.

Scores of social conservatives took their children out of public schools for one day in January to protest new lessons being tested in some French schools aimed at dispelling gender stereotypes. The social conservatives said the lessons could lead to boys wearing dresses and girls playing mechanic, or even masturbation classes for children.

“We are witnessing the rise of a tea party of the French,” Valls warned in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

A continent already hit by economic upheaval is confronting a wave of bitter societal polarization over a host of issues such as euthanasia, abortion and same-sex marriage.

In Spain, the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is seeking to push through legislation that would greatly limit abortion rights, unleashing a bitter confrontation with the left and reversing the steady march of liberal social policies there since the death of Gen. Francisco Franco. In Poland, a measure that would grant same-sex civil partnerships failed last year because of major opposition, prompting Prime Minister Donald Tusk to say he saw no chances of such unions passing within the next 10 to 15 years.

During Germany’s national election campaign last year, center-right Chancellor Angela Merkel sparked outrage among progressives after expressing doubts about full adoption rights for same-sex couples. “To be completely honest with you, I’m having difficulty with full equality,” she told public TV.

Although dubbed the “tea party, à la Française” by some, the mobilizations here are in many respects still oceans apart from the conservative crusade that upended American politics following Obama’s election. There also is no primary system in France to give social conservatives a decisive political voice. In addition, the conservative revolution here is far more social than fiscal. While some are indeed railing against high taxes and public waste, big government is still generally considered good government in France, no matter your spot on the political spectrum. ...

Read the rest at Washington Post
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Re: Hotair: France’s ruling Socialists lose big in local elections
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2014, 01:30:39 PM »
French pol to Jewish, Muslim schoolkids: Let them eat pork

Marine Le Pen says on radio that the National Front party won’t ‘accept any religious demands in school menus.’
BY  David Harding  / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:38 AM
 
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The leader of the French far-right said she will prevent schools from serving non-pork alternatives to Muslim and Jewish pupils in towns the party controls.

Marine Le Pen, talking to French radio station RTL, said her National Front party would "not accept any religious demands in school menus."

"There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that's the law," she told RTL.

Some schools in France have previously offered alternatives to Jewish and Muslim students, but Le Pen ruled this out happening again on her watch.

Le Pen was talking on the back of her party's strongest ever local election results.

Her anti-immigration far-right party took control of 11 towns across France at polls last weekend, in results seen as proof of her growing power, while the ruling Socialists received a drubbing.

France has Europe's largest number of Muslims, some 6.5 million.

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Offline Oceander

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Re: Hotair: France’s ruling Socialists lose big in local elections
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2014, 02:05:59 PM »
French pol to Jewish, Muslim schoolkids: Let them eat pork

Marine Le Pen says on radio that the National Front party won’t ‘accept any religious demands in school menus.’
BY  David Harding  / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:38 AM
 


that's going a little overboard.  since kosher and halal are essentially the same, it shouldn't involve a great imposition on existing resources, so i don't really see why it couldn't be left to local control of schools to decide whether or not to offer something like that.

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Re: Hotair: France’s ruling Socialists lose big in local elections
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 05:34:40 PM »
Marine Le Pen is a hateful little shrew, who's only claim to fame is Daddy's expertise in tapping in to the deep well of xenophobia most French have.
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