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Emmanuel Macron officially became France’s president on Sunday, May 14, 2017.

The Daily Mail has a good write up, with plenty of repetitive photos of Macron’s £380 suit from Jonas and Cie and his 64-year-old wife Brigitte Trogneux’s teenage legs. Trogneux wore a powder blue Louis Vuitton suit, price unknown.

On the night he won the first round, Trogneux wore skin tight black leather trousers and a cropped jacket. Seen from the back, she could have been mistaken for a much younger woman.

But I digress.

The Mail has a photo of Macron’s parents, likely the only contemporary one we will ever see.

Sunday began with a huge red carpet rolled out at the Elysée Palace. After the ceremony inside, Hollande stood on the Elysée steps for the final time to rapturous applause. Macron escorted Hollande to a waiting car.

From there, the new president then went up the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. A military ceremony took place.

After lunch at the Elysée Palace, Macron made a traditional presidential trip to the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), which looked like this earlier in the day. Presumably, more people attended:

Then again, judging from the next tweet, I’m not so sure.

The caption translates as ‘The sadness of a president elected by default. No one there to acclaim him, nowhere. This pretence of a celebration!’:

It’s important to note the following:

Mr Macron, the former unelected Economy Minister, left Mr Hollande’s government to form his own electoral movement, En Marche! [On the Move], in April 2016.

Despite this, Hollande said he wanted today’s handover of power to be ‘simple, clear and friendly’…

The 64-year-old [Hollande] launched Macron’s political career, plucking him from the world of investment banking to be an advisor and then his economy minister.

‘I am not handing over power to a political opponent, it’s far simpler,’ Hollande said on Thursday.

Absolutely.

The plan from the beginning was for Macron to win. Macron is Hollande’s heir apparent.

Macron had to run under another label, hence he created his own movement.

This is because the weakness of Hollande’s presidency had tarnished the Parti Socialiste (PS) so much that everyone knew they would have a tough time winning.

That said, Manuel Valls, a law and order candidate, would have been a very strong favourite. However, through party machine sabotage, Valls came second in the PS primaries to the lacklustre former education minister Benoît Hamon. There was no way that Hamon could have beaten the conservative François Fillon, who was top in the polls in January 2017.

In order for Macron to win — the plan all along — Fillon, Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, had to be brought down. This began happening on January 25, through a series of alleged financial scandals which dogged him until April, effectively stopping his campaign.

With Fillon out of the way, Macron had a clear path to victory. The French do not want Marine Le Pen in the Elysée.

The beauty of Macron’s En Marche! is that, even if he makes a total hash of his five years in office, the PS will have regrouped by then and En Marche! can be quietly put to sleep, with its leader likely moving on to bigger and better things in the private sector.

The following tweet sums up the situation as Hollande left office:

All the above points explain the highly negative tweets surrounding Macron:

To clarify: if a French traveller’s stay is under 90 days, there is no visa requirement.

French presidents traditionally make their first trip to Germany, a pattern that Macron duly followed.

This will not end well.

I will have two posts on Macron’s private life coming up soon.

On Friday, May 12, 2017, I posted a timeline of French media articles about the new French president Emmanuel Macron, most of which concerned his finances.

Anti-Macron French people wonder if the lack of transparency about his personal finances could, if investigated, turn out to be as significant as the Cahuzac affair which saw a former minister of François Hollande’s jailed for three years last December. Dr Cahuzac, originally a surgeon, is also prohibited from holding office for five years.

In February, someone pointed out that Macron, economics minister for François Hollande’s administration, got his start in politics from Cahuzac:

My post also mentioned an article from the Médiapart readers’ site, Club Médiapart, which proved explosive, creating a firestorm of media reaction. Essentially, it asked if Emmanuel Macron is a new Cahuzac.

Médiapart‘s editor Edwy Plénel had to tell the media that the views expressed on Club Médiapart have nothing whatsoever to do with Médiapart‘s editorial line. That said, despite numerous requests to take the article of April 14 down, Plénel refused, saying it did not violate any of their terms and conditions.

The Club Médiapart article did not have much on Cahuzac himself. Most of it focussed on Macron, 39, being an establishment creation, and — although the author did not use the following words, I will — a Manchurian Candidate.

Excerpts and a summary follow, translation and emphases mine.

First, how can one explain the meteoric rise of the youngest president in France’s history?

… the facts are stubborn. Macron’s journey does not go unnoticed without raising some questions: by what means can an individual, unknown until a few months ago, find himself in such a position? To be sure, talent and self-discipline can explain the stunning rapidity of such a trajectory, but, on the other hand, political life is far from linear, and to play a certain role in it, as in the theatre, one must have great directors.

We are convinced that Emmanuel Macron, contrary to appearances and his repetitive chant on reforming the practices of the political world, is not exempt from the old constraints which govern this particular world.

Then there is a certain irony of the public seeing early photos of Macron as a boy acting in a school play, which provides a reference point for his future as an adult. Even better, his drama teacher — now his wife — Brigitte Trogneux had directed the production. What did that portend for Macron’s future?

There is the stage where Emmanuel Macron performs and plays a tailor-made role, and then there is the backstage, where we find characters as diverse as Brigitte Trogneux, Henry Hermand ([recently deceased] multimillionaire, great financier of the Second [modern] Left, and mentor of Macron), François Henrot (Director of the Rothschild bank), David Rothschild (head of the business bank), Jean-Pierre Jouyet (secretary general of the Elysée) and, of course, Francois Hollande.

And there are more establishment figures in Macron’s universe:

So many complex characters, who have alternately played a considerable part in the rise of Macron to the highest levels of the republic. So many characters to whom Macron is devoted, and necessarily indebted. To these key players, we must add the media and financial ecosystem that has anointed him. Alain Minc, Jacques Attali, Pierre Bergé and Patrick Drahi, all these actors have played a more or less direct role in his political journey.

In other words, Macron is anything but an anti-establishment candidate. He is a globalist of the first water.

Don’t be deceived by the media craze. In fact, a radio programme that went against the grain was not allowed to be rebroadcast:

At the beginning of April, a show on LCI, Médiasphère, revealed candidate Macron’s artificiality. Depicted as a puppet serving extraordinary interests, Macron was laid bare during the show. The media effect of this broadcast of a few tens of minutes was such that LCI was forced to cancel the repeat of Médiasphère.

My post of Friday, May 5 explained how two strong candidates — the conservative Francois Fillon and the socialist Manuel Valls — had to be cleared out of the way for Macron to win. The Club Médiapart author says Macron is far from a genius:

Macron is a theatre actor, endowed with a questionable talent, as shown by his poor performance in the various presidential debates. Behind the scenes, a crowd of individuals, more or less commendable, write his role for him, draw up his replies, choreograph him and create the backdrop.

The author concludes that Macron we see is not the true Macron. Who is Emmanuel Macron really?

Yesterday, I profiled The Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec, whom Emmanuel Macron is targetting for summarising news on his financial affairs based on a data dump from 4chan.

In that post, I mentioned a much more incriminating Twitter hash tag than the one Posobiec was posting on.

#EmmanuelCahuzac was used by the French to discuss financial documents that came out in French media earlier this year — at a time when North Americans were largely unaware of them.

My post on Posobiec explains why #EmmanuelCahuzac is so called. (There is also #MacronCahuzac.) Again, no one is implying that Macron was involved in the Cahuzac affair. People commenting are concerned that Macron’s financial situation, if investigated, could be of the same magnitude. No one wants to see another Cahuzac affair, which took three years to investigate.

That said, as far back as February 25 — before these hashtags were created — a Twitter user asked people not to forget that Macron got his start in politics thanks to Dr Cahuzac, a surgeon, later parliamentarian, who served as junior minister to the budget in François Hollande’s administration. He is now serving three years in prison, as of December 2016:

Earlier that month, on February 3, Le Figaro reported that Macron was quick off the mark in winning the support of the former anti-corruption judge Eric Halphen in Lyon. It could stand him in good stead.

On February 18, a Journal du Dimanche (JDD, ‘Sunday Journal’) article asked probing questions about Macron’s finances and wondered why Big Media were giving him a pass.

On March 2, Le Monde reported that the Belgian newspaper Le Soir stated that Macron:

was financed ‘more than 30%’ by ‘the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’.

However, Le Monde stated, there was a problem. The allegation came from lesoir.info, not lesoir.be. Lesoir.be is the real link to the genuine Le Soir. Therefore, the Saudi story was fake news.

The rest of this post documents highlights in the #EmmanuelCahuzac timeline from the beginning — March 14 — through May 5, before the 44-hour media blackout.

This is to demonstrate that American alternative media journalists have very little to do with Macron. They came in at the end. A lot of information had already been circulating in France and Belgium before then. That also means Hillary Clinton should stop braying about Russian hacking.

Important articles are also included, indicated by green arrows.

Translation and emphases mine throughout, unless otherwise indicated.

Mar 14: This is the first #EmmanuelCahuzac tweet asking what happened to Macron’s millions:

=> => The Challenges article, also from March 14, says that the French anti-corruption organisation, Anticor, had contacted the Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique (HATVP) — High Authority for Transparency in Public Life — regarding Macron’s financial situation. Anticor stated that there appears to be a ‘lack of coherence between revenue and declared holdings’. Le Parisien broke the story on March 13.

=> => On March 16, Macron signed a nine-page financial disclosure form for the HATVP.

=> => On March 22, Les Crises said that the March 16 HATVP disclosure of Macron’s finances answered some of their questions, particularly regarding his recent book sales. That said, Les Crises pointed out that several of their questions concerning Macron’s financial situation remained unanswered.

=> => On March 24, Médiapart published an article, ‘Luxembourg, the preferred tax haven for those close to Macron’. They do not mention family, only close associates.

=> => On April 3, Entreprise.news asked what exactly happened to Macron’s earnings from Rothschild during his employment there:

More than three million euros in salary and bonuses over three and a half years.

The author states:

it is often the practice in large international investment banks to pay these bonuses in Luxembourg investment fund shares, for example: nothing is illegal, but it may be wise to turn them into pseudo work on the family homePeople like Macron in France are constantly sailing close to the wind, very close to insider behavior, and would certainly be worried if we were in the Anglo-Saxon world or if the influence of large institutions were not so dominant in our country.

As for François Fillon, the conservative candidate and former prime minister who was dogged by alleged financial scandals from the beginning of the year because Macron never could have beaten him otherwise, the article says:

By the way, François Fillon: you are a small player with your mini-scandal. The technocratic government has known for a long time how to reconcile the moral postures of champagne socialists with an inextinguishable thirst for easy money without the citizens realizing it.

=> => On April 10, an article in Contrepoints states that, based on the aforementioned Enterprise.news article, the conservative think tank IREF has contacted the public prosecutor’s department regarding a declaration of Macron’s assets, one which raises many questions. Contrepoints shows the IREF’s request in full, then explains:

The analysis here is essentially technical and shows that, if Emmanuel Macron really invested €500,000 in work on his wife’s house, he could not account for the transactions he presented in his declaration of assets …

Does this mean that Emmanuel Macron has deliberately sought to defraud? Probably not in the sense that some understand it, that is, with the premeditation worthy of a great, money-grubbing mafioso. On the other hand, it is more plausible that Emmanuel Macron found a convenient way to escape tax by exploiting a loophole, the risk of which he did not properly assess at the time.

For the big institutions, however, the zeal shown against Les Républicains [Fillon] and the Front National, as well as the passivity towards a presidential candidate who appears in many respects as a man of the the establishment becomes a real problem, the importance of which cannot be underestimated, especially if Macron were to qualify for the second round.

=> => On April 14, the aforementioned think tank IREF elaborated on their reasons why they wanted Macron’s finances investigated. Their article poses 15 questions which, they state, have not yet been answered. They conclude (emphasis in the original):

These elements [of the story] cannot be dismissed out of hand. Mr Macron must explain himself without delay or the judicial authorities will get involved. Transparency in public life must be applied with equal rigour to everyone.

=> => Also on April 14, a Médiapart reader posted an article on the readers’ site, Club Médiapart, which proved explosive, creating a firestorm of media reaction. Essentially, it asked if Emmanuel Macron was a new Cahuzac. (I will address it in a future post.) Médiapart‘s editor Edwy Plénel had to tell the media that the views expressed on Club Médiapart have nothing whatsoever to do with Médiapart‘s editorial line. That said, despite numerous requests to take the article down, Plénel refused, saying it did not violate any of their terms and conditions. Note the aforementioned real-deal Médiapart article from March 24.

April 16: the constant accusations against François Fillon and his family actually began attracting undecided voters before the first round of voting on Sunday, April 23. RMC (talk radio) received calls and heard from their guests that he and his family were being dragged through the mud. None of it seemed right, especially when no one was looking at Macron’s finances. A Twitter user complained about coverage on RMC’s sister channel, BFMTV:

On April 17, the JDD (also see their aforementioned article from February 18) reported on Macron’s interview with Jean-Jacques Bourdin on BFMTV, wherein the candidate — now president — called speculation on his finances fausses nouvelles —  ‘fake news’. Already talk was circulating about an offshore account. The JDD reported:

“People said, ‘There has been some trickery,'” said the former business banker, who wanted to cut short the rumours about a possible “hidden account” in a tax haven: Totally false. “

He also told Bourdin something incredible:

In six years, I earned €3mAt the end, I had €270,000 in savings.

=> => Following the BFMTV interview on April 17, Marianne posted an article that afternoon warning that Macron should be more forthcoming in his answers:

In any event, his declarations du jour will have to be addressed at some point, because the candidate of En Marche does not keep any documents in the public domain or available to journalists, which would make it possible to confirm his statements.

April 17: A Belgian researcher put together a brief slideshow showing how many fake Twitter accounts had been created using @Médiapart, after the aforementioned Club Médiapart editorial of April 14 — which, again, has nothing to do with the magazine’s editors or editorial line. The Belgian thinks the new Twitter accounts are bogus. It could be that those were Club Médiapart members who wanted to contribute to #EmmanuelCahuzac. This researcher, by the way, was the one who implicated Jack Posobiec in another anti-Macron hashtag. The only problem with that argument is that Posobiec created his Twitter account in 2012:

=> => Also on April 17, the Huffington Post (French edition) tied all these strands together and said that Macron was behind the curve if he thought that his aforementioned BFMTV interview would clear the air. The online chatter had already started with #EmmanuelCahuzac, the Club Medipart editorial and Nicolas Vanderbiest’s findings on supposed fake Twitter accounts.

April 17: Someone says that Macron’s stepchildren (he has no children of his own) have Swiss bank accounts (fric is slang for ‘money’) and that there is something not right about the house renovation:

April 21: L’Express deleted an article published on this date:

May 3: At this point, the English-language articles began circulating, the first being from ZeroHedge, which discussed the Disobedient Media investigation into an alleged Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Nevis called La Providence, after the Jesuit school Macron attended in Amiens.

May 4: Le Monde reported that, during the presidential debate the previous evening, Marine Le Pen told Macron:

Be careful in what you say, Mr Macron. I hope we won’t learn anything in the coming days … I hope we won’t find out you have a hidden account in the Bahamas.

I recall reading an American tweet at the weekend: ‘It’s not in the Bahamas. It’s in the Caymans.’

May 5: A French Twitter user found the Got News article that Posobiec referenced in his video of May 5. She asks whether BFMTV was economical with the truth regarding documents linked to a possible offshore account of Macron’s:

May 5: Police seized a Frenchman’s banderole, which had writing equating Macron with Cahuzac, and held him for questioning for two hours.

May 5: Lara.Poutou saw Jack Posobiec’s tweet on 4chan data dump. La toile means ‘the web’:

That was nearly the final tweet on #emmanuelcahuzac.

In conclusion, the French had far more to do with questioning Emmanuel Macron’s finances than the American alternative media did.

The only thing that might have really riled Macron up was their pursuit of an alleged offshore account.

WikiLeaks is investigating the authenticity of the 4chan /pol/ data dump.

There’s more good news for alternative media.

On April 3, 2017 Rebel Media hired former political operative Jack Posobiec as their Washington Bureau Chief.

In 2016, Posobiec (pron. ‘Posobik’), his Twitter feed and YouTube videos were popular with Trump supporters, especially Millennials.

Posobiec describes his career as follows:

Last year, I served as the Special Projects Director for Citizens for Trump, the largest Trump grassroots organization in the US.

Originally from the Philadelphia area, I’ve worked for four presidential campaigns, as well as numerous candidates for Senate, Congress, and Governor.

I’m also a US Navy veteran with multiple deployments overseas. 

Posobiec’s Rebel Media work can be found here.

He’s a good reporter. He speaks clearly, concisely and logically.

The video below from Monday, April 3, 2017 was his one of his first reports for Rebel Media. He explains the surveillance scandal involving President Donald Trump and others during the 2016 campaign season. He includes video clips from a variety of Big Media sources and lays out the timeline well:

The Rebel Media was founded in Canada in 2015 by a former Sun News Network host, Ezra Levant. Rebel’s hosts and commentators are controversial but highly popular among Millennials. Canadian Gavin McInnes is the best known in the United States.

The Rebel Media — also known as The Rebel — is an organisation that one either loves or loathes. That said, their programmes will make one think.

Contrary to the way it has been portrayed by Big Media in Western countries, The Rebel is not ‘far-right’ but libertarian-to-conservative alternative media.

Jack Posobiec and Rebel Media unintentionally broke out of their US-Canada market during the weekend of the French election. Now they’ve gone international.

In short, contributors to the /pol/ forum board on 4chan obtained a huge volume of data that supposedly relates to France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron. Macron threatened to sue anyone who discussed these data online during the 44-hour media blackout of the election prior to Sunday, May 7 — the second, and final, round of voting.

Disobedient Media, by investigative citizen journalist William Craddick, reported on the data dump between Wednesday, May 3 and Friday, May 5: here, here, here and here.

Posobiec posted the video below at The Rebel on Friday, May 5, referencing Craddick’s work. Posobiec said that he himself had just been labelled by a Belgian researcher as a Russian agent. Posobiec is a Polish name. This person alleges that Posobiec’s Twitter account appeared in a list of what were brand new Twitter accounts, thought to be bots. The researcher was already hard at work establishing notional bots on April 15. (N.B.: Posobiec opened his Twitter account in 2012.)

Posobiec went on to say that he spoke with 4chan members who said that they found the Macron documents on ‘the deep web’ — the dark net. Posobiec also cited a May 4 article on Got News by an independent auditor for the Big Three accounting firms who examined the data dump. ‘Jessica Gomez’ (not her real name) claimed that the documents are not fake and that the French people should be able to examine them prior to Sunday, May 7:

That weekend, someone on social media suggested that there should be a place on Twitter to discuss the data dump. Posobiec was the first to post at  #MacronLeaks.

Macron has since taken legal action against him and/or Rebel Media.

On Monday, May 8, Posobiec gave Alex Jones an interview in which he said that Rebel Media had their lawyers on the case. He was confident and composed.

My post tomorrow will address a) the speculation about Macron’s finances and b) much worse hashtags — #MacronCahuzac and #EmmanuelCahuzac — both of which started in France months ago. I will look at the latter hashtag  tomorrow.

The Cahuzac affair was the worst financial scandal to take place in France in recent years. It involved tax fraud and money laundering. In the end, Dr Jérôme Cahuzac — a surgeon who became a  parliamentarian then Junior Minister for the Budget in François Hollande’s administration — was sentenced to three years in prison on December 8, 2016. He is also ineligible to serve in public office for five years.

The name Cahuzac has been toxic since his scandal first came to light in 2013. 

Therefore, it’s interesting that Macron would take legal action against an American alternative media reporter when so much information — including the Cahuzac tag — was already circulating in investigative French media outlets.

To be clear: linking Cahuzac’s name with Macron is not saying Macron was involved, but rather the possibility that whatever might be uncovered about Macron’s finances could be as huge as the Cahuzac affair.

I wish Jack Posobiec — and his fiancée Tanya Tay — all the best, especially in the Macron dust-up, and hope that he continues to hold the centre ground in his coverage.

UPDATE: Thank you, Jack, for the tweet. Much appreciated!

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Various tweets and videos circulated following the French presidential elections on Sunday, May 7, 2017 saying that the result was hacked. Not true.

France’s example is a good one for other countries to follow. So is the British voting procedure.

This is because both involve paper. In France, one puts a slip of paper with the candidate’s name on it into an envelope. In the UK, we mark an X next to a candidate’s name. What could be simpler?

Traditional voting

There are very few voting machines in France. Most of the French vote the old fashioned way.

Furthermore, they are prohibited from sending in an absentee ballot.

The French must vote in person, even when they live overseas (e.g. Canada). If they are unable to show up at the polling station, they can appoint someone to vote for them, provided that person lives in the same commune or, when abroad, vicinity (e.g. Montreal). That said, arranging proxy voting requires appearing before a designated government official beforehand.

A few days before the election is held, voters receive an envelope by post which has flyers from the various candidates along with a slip of paper with the candidate’s name printed on it.

Last weekend, a video showed someone opening their envelope with information about Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. However, although there were two voting slips, both were for Macron:

A photo showed damaged Le Pen slips damaged in the town of Allier. These could not be used for voting. Allier, incidentally, voted overwhelmingly for Macron:

Although those tweets elicited reaction, a number of French voters responded by saying that the polling station has stacks of slips of paper — bulletins — for each candidate.

Even if someone comes in and steals a stack of bulletins for a particular candidate, polling station officials can ring up and get more within a short space of time. This happened in Ruffey-les-Echirey in Burgundy. France3 reported (I’ve edited the Google translation slightly):

The two stacks of ballot papers, one for Emmanuel Macron and the other for Marine Le Pen, were no longer equal, as required by the electoral code: the electors of the commune were only offered 140 Le Pen ballots instead of 973 – the number of registrants in Ruffey …

Several hundred “Marine Le Pen” bulletins were deliberately stolen during the night, thus compromising the fairness of the two candidates in the polling station. But it took more than that to disturb the elected Ruffey: the mayor, Nadine Mutin, and her 1st deputy contacted the prefecture of Côte-d’Or to resolve the discrepancy. The prefecture provided them with official bulletins thirty minutes later. With enough Le Pen ballots, the polling station was able to open at 8 a.m., and voting unfolded smoothly.

Media blackout

Campaigns end the Friday before the election. No election news is allowed from midnight on the Saturday preceding the election.

How voting works

One must be a registered voter in order to cast a ballot. The minimum voting age is 18.

On election day, French voters go to their appointed polling station.

Before voting, an official checks their voter registration and identity cards. Showing a voter registration card is supposed to be mandatory in communes with more than 5,000 people. However, Marianne reported that if voters lost or misplaced it, showing an ID card would be sufficient, even in larger communes.

https://i1.wp.com/ekladata.com/oKF7QilzlYouNO1Fsw1f1n-siXk.jpgVoters then go to a table with stacks of pre-printed bulletins and envelopes. There is one stack for each candidate. I have read that voters must take one slip for each candidate, but I have also read anecdotally that some take only two. Obviously, the more one takes, the less chance that anyone will know one’s voting intention.

Voters also take an envelope before proceeding to private voting booths.

Once in the privacy of the voting booth, voters put the piece of paper with their candidate’s name on it into the envelope. They then close the envelope. They throw unused slips of paper into the bin provided.

They proceed to the table with a clear perspex box which contains the ballots. One official mans the box and two others are on hand to check voter registration and ID cards once more. Once the identity check has been made, voters give their closed envelope to the official in charge of the box. The official opens the little slot on top of the box. The voter places the envelope in the box, then the official closes it.

The official running the box then announces, ‘A voté‘, meaning ‘(has) voted’. Sometimes in smaller places, the official also announces the voter’s full name: ‘Jeanne Duclos a voté‘. I’ve personally seen this done.

The voter signs the voter’s list and an official stamps his voter registration card in the appropriate box.

This ensures that no one can vote twice.

Voting blanc or nul

Protest voting is popular in France.

One can vote blanc — blank — or nul — no vote.

Since 2014, the government has allowed for a tabulation of both types of vote, although neither is included in the entire percentage of votes. In other words, even if the majority of voters cast such a ballot, it would still make no difference to the candidates’ percentages. Someone would emerge as the winner.

Marianne explains that there are only two ways to vote blanc: either put an empty envelope into the box or put a blank piece of paper into the envelope.

Similarly, there are only two ways to vote nul: write anyone else’s name on a piece of paper or put a torn candidate slip into the envelope.

Counting the votes

Polls close at 6 p.m. in smaller communes and at 8 p.m. in towns and cities. Local laws determine closing hours. On Sunday, polls closed at 7 across the country.

Tabulating the votes is remarkably efficient, even though not all votes are counted by the time the media announce the result.

I’ve watched live election coverage a few times over the past decade. By the time I tune in — 11:00 in the UK — the winning candidate has already given his victory speech and is off to celebrate.

The French know the result before midnight. There is no need to pull an all-nighter as there is in the UK and, sometimes, the US.

Fraud nearly impossible

The French voting system, although it is old-fashioned, is remarkably practical, simple and effective.

It mitigates against fraud and there is almost no chance of hacking, even in the few places with machines. Those in one middle class Parisian suburb did not even show the candidates’ names, although Marianne reported that all were fixed on Sunday morning after the polling stations opened:

Marianne stated that, beginning in the first round of voting in 2007, voting machines were allowed in communes with more than 3,500 inhabitants. However, they have been notoriously problematic ever since. After the first round in 2007, the minister of the interior declared a moratorium on new installations, although those communes with machines already installed were allowed to keep them.

Conclusion

It would be nice if the US could adopt the French paper model. However, the US system combines legislative and local elections with the presidential, making this impractical. The US also votes for a wider set of local representatives than France or the UK.

In Europe, we spread our elections out. For example, the UK had local elections on Thursday, May 4. We will be voting again on June 8 for our MPs in a snap election which we hope will return Theresa May to No. 10 so she has an official mandate — and a greater majority of Conservative MPs — to properly implement Brexit.

The French will return to the polls in another two-round election process for their legislators on June 11 and June 18.

Further reading:

Elections in France (Wikipedia)

French Election Vocabulary Practice (French Today)

French legislative election, 2017 (Wikipedia)

Congratulations to everyone in the United States who got involved online in discussing and analysing France’s presidential election, the second round of which was held on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

It was refreshing to see Americans engage so well with this historic election an ocean away.

As predicted, Emmanuel Macron is the new resident of the Elysée Palace in Paris. He won with 66% — two-thirds — of the vote. Turnout was around 74% — high, compared with other Western countries — but was the lowest for France since 1969.

Now he and his En Marche! — formerly a movement, now a political party — must work with the Socialists (PS) and others on the left for les législatives (parliamentary) elections on June 18.

It’s interesting that the supposedly independent, free-thinking Marianne newsweekly put Macron on its cover for the second week in a row. Earlier this year, they criticised other news magazines for multiple Macron covers. Sadly, they have fallen in step with the other sheeplike outlets:

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen (FN, Front National) was upbeat in her concession speech. For the next few weeks, the FN are now the party of opposition.

That said, I expect Les Républicains (LR, conservatives) to regain that position on June 18.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, who hid herself away crying when she lost, Le Pen got on the dance floor with her campaign workers:

Discussions on RMC (French talk radio) this morning centred around her renaming her father’s party to Les Patriotes. No one really thought a new name would give the FN better traction among the French electorate.

Emmanuel Macron

On Sunday evening, Macron supporters waited at the Louvre for him to speak in front of the museum’s glass pyramid:

Hillary Clinton concurred:

She referred to the 48-hour media blackout prior to a French election. This is so that voters are not unduly swayed one way or the other. We have the same thing in the UK.

I watched BFMTV’s coverage and tuned in as the presidential entourage was making its way along part of the Tour de France route to a secret location where he, his family and main supporters had drinks and dinner. Everyone entered by the back in a narrow side street, heavy with security. No one was allowed in the road unless they were going to his victory dinner.

How France voted

Matthieu Gallard of the French division of the polling company IPSOS, has a lot of excellent statistics of which parts of the French population voted for Macron and Le Pen:

Voter profiles

If you click on his tweet, you can see that Gallard also has IPSOS charts which show that Macron did better across the board with executives (cadres), professionals (prof. intermédiaires) and the retired (retraités). The only group where Le Pen dominated was the working class (ouvriers).

Even education levels did not make a difference overall. Macron won every demographic there, from those who had not completed high school to those with post-graduate degrees.

Tactical voting

Forty-three per cent voted Macron only to stop Le Pen (the historical toxicity of the FN).

However, that is not necessarily positive. This will become clearer in June, because IPSOS also has another chart (see Gallard’s other tweets) showing that 61% of the French do not want Macron’s En Marche! to have a majority in parliament (l’Assemblée Nationale).

Regions

The New York Times has a good map of regions where Le Pen dominated:

Someone from an English-speaking country surmises that this has to do with ancient linguistics:

No. It has to do with immigration patterns. The North and Bordeaux (west) have had enough. The voters along the southern coast have the same issue.

Paris also has a big problem, but, like all other Western capitals and major cities, votes for the Left — regardless.

You can see more charts and statistics here.

Francophone reaction to foreign opinion

French-speaking media people were most unhappy with alt-media journalist Mike Cernovich‘s reaction to the outcome.

Cernovich tweeted that America should accept Le Pen voters as political refugees.

Oddly, the responses I’ve seen came from countries other than France.

A Belgian journalist who works at the European Parliament picked up on it, calling Cernovich a ‘little protege’ of President Trump. Frankly, I’m not sure they’ve even met each other:

A Genevan journalist from Le Temps dismissed Cernovich as a ‘conspiracy writer’:

Visit to Germany

Macron’s first trip will be to Germany to visit Angela Merkel.

I have seen several journalists jump on this as being Macron-specific.

However, a trip to Germany is normal for incoming French presidents. François Hollande also went to see Merkel within 48 hours of his election in 2012.

Conclusion

Ultimately, only the parliamentary elections in June can end the debate that is currently going on in France. The first statistic, incidentally, was the result of the Brexit referendum in 2016:

Coming soon: why the election result was not rigged

Tomorrow: Alternative media and Macron’s financial situation

On Sunday, May 7, 2017 the French will be electing a new president whose term will run for five years.

It is almost certain that Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) will win.

Marine Le Pen (Front National) is likely to pick up more votes than her father Jean-Marie has in past elections, but there is too much historical baggage attached to the FN to make her a winning proposition nationwide.

May 3 – debate

On Wednesday, May 3, TF1 hosted a televised debate of the two candidates, which was also shown on several other channels.

One of my favourite socio-political commentators, journalist, author and essayist Natacha Polony, appeared on RMC (talk radio) the next morning to say that the debate revealed one candidate who doesn’t understand the issues and one who is a perfect Énarque (graduate of the École Nationale d’Administration, where the top politicians come from). Macron is also a graduate of Sciences-Po, also very important to political life.

Polony says that the debates told the French public very little about how they would resolve current problems in their nation. A few ‘hollow’ soundbites and ‘vulgarity’, she says, do not constitute a policy position.

France24 reported similarly. The debate was:

loud, fast, personal, riven with inaccuracies and thin on substance …

The media and viewers thought that Macron won the debate hands down.

SkyNews has a good recap of the highlights:

In angry exchanges, Ms Le Pen played up Mr Macron’s background as a former banker and economy minister in the outgoing Socialist government.

Portraying him as Francois Hollande’s lapdog, she said he was the “candidate of globalisation gone wild”.

He tore into her flagship policy of abandoning the euro and accused her of failing to offer solutions to France’s economic problems such as high unemployment.

The attacks were often personal with Mr Macron calling Ms Le Pen a “parasite” and a liar.

Also:

Ms Le Pen accused Mr Macron of having no plan on security but being indulgent with Islamic extremism.

He told her that radicals would love her to become president because she would stoke conflict.

Alternative media’s Paul Joseph Watson, a frequent traveller to France, reacted from London:

For the FN, the debate was of historical importance:

The TV appearance was the first time a National Front candidate has appeared in a run-off debate – an indication of how far Le Pen has brought her party by softening its image and trying to separate it from past xenophobic associations.

Macron win baked in from the start

Emmanuel Macron was meant to win from late 2016.

The media are doing their job in carrying water for him. This week’s French magazine stand is incredible:

Macron, who served as François Hollande’s economics minister for two years, was his pet in many ways. His campaign was designed to beat that of the conservative François Fillon (LR) and the socialist former education minister Benoît Hamon (PS).

Manuel Valls

Valls Schaefer Munich Economic Summit 2015 (cropped).JPGThose who know that former prime minister Manuel Valls was tipped to be the next PS candidate years ago might wonder what happened. This, too, was part of the plan.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A PS party leader warned Valls not to run and do something ‘irreversible’.

Shortly afterwards, Hollande told Valls in a one-on-one meeting in December that eventually his time would come.

Hollande, incidentally, kept Valls in the dark as to whether he would run for a second term. He didn’t.

Valls did not understand the message from his party. It was not Valls’s turn for a reason. The PS supported Macron, even though Macron created his own political movement.

Valls went ahead and ran for the PS primary earlier this year. He was a long-time favourite. Yet, the weak Benoît Hamon beat him. Behind the scenes, the PS machine made sure Valls did not win. Nothing personal, just politics.

Valls put his support behind Macron rather than Hamon before the first round of voting on Sunday, April 23. That was understandable as Hamon was polling only in the single digits and received only slightly over 6% of the vote that day.

François Fillon

François Fillon 2010.jpgFrançois Fillon of Les Républicains, or LR, was my candidate. He served as prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy between 2007 and 2012.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fillon has always been measured, reserved and statesman-like.

There was never a hint of scandal about him.

He won the LR primary decisively on November 27, 2016 with two-thirds of the vote. The turnout — non-LR members could pay €3 for a ballot — was immense. Many polling stations had long queues all day. Some ran out of ballots. Officials were surprised, to say the least.

The result took everyone aback. No one had written much about Fillon in the run-up to the primary. In fact, one newsweekly, Marianne, called him ‘Mr Nobody’.

In December, with a sound political manifesto, he was seen as the man to beat.

In the third week of January, two of Marianne‘s readers wrote letters to the editor, expressing fear about Fillon. In the magazine’s 20 – 26 January 2017, edition, one reader wrote about the disaster 2017 would turn out to be with ‘the arrival of Fillon at the Elysée’ (p. 50). The other reader’s letter bore the title ‘SOS Fillon’. It said what an ‘inhuman’ cruelty from an environmental perspective it would be for him to be ‘at the Elysée’ (p. 52).

The polls showed Fillon as the top candidate at that time.

On January 25, everything changed.

Mysterious charges came out of the blue, with an address book and a dossier given to Le Canard enchaîné. Allegations purported that Fillon’s Welsh wife Penelope had engaged in fictitious employment and had been paid hundreds of thousands of euros for work she had never done both for a literary magazine and as Fillon’s parliamentary assistant. This was strange, because the allegations stretched back to things that supposedly took place in the late 1990s, yet, they had never seen the light of day until now. Recall that Fillon — ‘Mr Nobody’ — was prime minister between 2007 and 2012.

A preliminary hearing began immediately, something that is unheard of in similar situations in France. It normally takes weeks, if not months, for the authorities to investigate.

Nearly every day for two months, either Le Canard enchaîné was receiving new information about other Fillon scandals or the authorities were questioning the couple and searching their properties.

As Eric Ciotti, the LR president of the council of Alpes-Maritimes, told RMC the other week, the last day Fillon had a proper campaign was on January 24.

Fillon had to be cleared out of the way for Macron. Believe me, Macron never would have stood a chance under normal circumstances.

Despite all of this, on April 23, Fillon received a respectable 20.0% of the votes in the first round. He came third, behind Le Pen. Le Pen garnered 21.3% and Macron 24.0%. Jean-Luc Mélenchon came fourth with 19.5%. Benoît Hamon, the PS candidate, got just over 6%.

Now that Fillon is out of the way, so is the drip-drip-drip of scandal.

You can read more about Valls and Fillon in an article I wrote recently for Orphans of Liberty, ‘Pauvre Fillon’. (Pauvre means ‘poor’, ‘pitiable’).

The Big Media narrative

Big Media have been busy for months saying that Macron is a centrist, anti-establishment and antisystème candidate.

If he espoused the latter two characteristics, Big Media would never have endorsed him. Big Media are part of the establishment and le système.

Marianne noted that all of these media outlets have made a big deal about everything Macron except his political platform (13 – 19 January 2017 issue, p. 11).

They have given Macron the celebrity treatment in the same way that the world media gave Obama in 2008. Marianne pointed out that l’Obs (Le Nouvel Observateur) put Macron on their cover six times in 2016 (p. 17).

At that stage, Marianne only had Macron on their cover twice: that particular January issue and in November 2015. Interestingly, the 2015 issue has ‘Moi, Président‘ next to his photo.

This week, Marianne fell in line with every other magazine and put him on the cover. Sad. The magazine that prides itself on independent (albeit left-wing) thinking howled about media intox — hype — then fell into the same trap.

Establishment help

Macron has benefited from Socialist help at home and abroad.

In France, Marianne says that Hollande’s ex-partner and mother of his children, Ségolène Royal — former minister of the environment — has been discreetly advising him behind the scenes since December (13 – 19 January 2017 issue, p. 12). Royal has long admired Macron. She appeared with him on the hustings this week.

In the United States, Obama — also a socialist — gave Macron a fulsome endorsement to the French electorate. Can you imagine the outcry if Trump had done something similar?

My guess is that he was in Tahiti for this very reason. If he had rung Macron from the US, the American intelligence community could have tracked his phone calls. Ironically, Obama put such an arrangement in place himself, whereby Americans corresponding with or talking to people overseas may become of interest to US intelligence.

Like Obama, Macron is another Manchurian Candidate. The two must have much in common.

This tweet bridges the discussion from Obama to the next two men mentioned below:

Besides socialists, there are the globalist economics experts and policy wonks around Macron, including Alain Minc and Jacques Attali.

I saw Alain Minc several years ago on a late-night French talk show, On n’est pas couché (‘We Haven’t Gone to Bed’). The subject was the disconnect between a candidate’s promises and the reality that follows an election. Minc told Natasha Polony, who was a regular panellist at the time, that even she had no place in voicing an opinion about policy-making. Minc said:

You get your say at the polls. At that point, your role ends. Afterwards, we take over.

Her jaw dropped.

In other words, leave it to the experts. The great unwashed have no voice. This guy is advising Macron. He also attended the same grandes écoles as the future French president.

Their already heated debate continued a little longer. Then, Minc dismissed her as being silly and told her to be quiet. If I remember rightly, the talk show host stepped in and changed the subject.

Jacques Attali, who is richer than Croesus, said in a print interview a couple of years ago that, even though he is in his 70s, he still works every day. He said he could not help but look down on retired people who wanted to relax and enjoy life. As a graduate of the same schools as Macron and Minc, Attali has never had to toil day after day in a manufacturing plant or drive a lorry or work in a slaughterhouse. If he had busied himself at any of those occupations for decades, he, too, would want to put his feet up.

Policy positions

Macron’s team have been busy this week tweeting, sometimes posting several every few minutes: a lot of empty words — or bla bla, as the French say — style over substance.

He doesn’t want people to know what he’s actually going to do.

Keebler AC reposted the following tweet on a thread at The Conservative Treehouse:

What follows are a few illustrated highlights from the debate that give you an idea of what Macron is about:

I’ll translate the dialogue below:

Juncker (?, on the left): The barbarians are at the gates. How can we guarantee a French victory?

Macron (lower right): Open wide the gates. There is no such thing as French culture.

Hollande (upper right): I told you so! The little one’s a genius!

All of this causes confusion. On March 31, an RMC panellist, a barrister, asked how Macron could be Hollande’s successor:

It’s inconceivable. He’s surrounded by people from the Right.

However, others do understand. Someone replied to that comment with this helpful illustration:

The influential imam from the Grande Mosque de Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, called on all French Muslims to vote for Macron in the second round.

And Les Républicains (LR), in order to continue to distance themselves from the FN, also urged their members and supporters to vote for Macron. Career politician Jean-François Copé rightly criticised Macron for his heavily publicised victory party after the first round, while Marine Le Pen left her supporters to party and made a quick exit after the results were announced.

Here’s Macron’s party at La Rotonde brasserie in Paris’s Montparnasse district. Copé said he was stunned:

Note that Copé also commented above that, as far as ensuring French security is concerned, Macron is ‘very weak’. As far as economic policies go, Macron is in ‘permanent flux’.

That said, Copé announced on the show:

With death in my soul, I said I will vote Macron.

Globalists v Nationalists

Ultimately, the battle for the Elysée is about globalists (Macron) versus nationalists (Le Pen).

This revolves around changes in those who embrace Marxism.

S. Armaticus, who authors the Catholic site, The Deus Ex Machina Blog, wrote an excellent analysis in the comments on The Conservative Treehouse‘s pre-election post:

The “Globalists” -read cultural Marxists in the US are endorsing the “globalists” – read cultural Marxists in France. Now the cultural Marxist’s enemy is the former economic Marxists- read post-Soviet countries. The reason that the cultural Marxists hate the former economic Marxists is that the later dumped their Marxism. The reason they dumped their Marxism is because it didn’t work. It left their countries ruined. So these former Marxists are trying to implement something that works to get them out of the mess that Marxism left. While the cultural Marxists never experienced Marxism first hand. So they are trying to implement Marxism.

And that is why us normal people like you, me and The POTUS, are caught up in this fratricidal war between the neo-Marxists (Obama/Macron/Trudeau) and the ex-Marxists (Putin).

We should know the results on Sunday night. Unfortunately, because the French don’t really have enough of an online presence to fight globalism.

As Marine Le Pen said, a woman will be leading France: either her or Angela Merkel.

No guesses as to who will be in charge come Monday morning.

Next week I will discuss Macron’s private life.

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