Francois Hollande is more popular than ever. So why is his party still losing? … François Hollande has not been a particularly lucky president so far. Saturday might have been a high point for the troubled politician: Under his leadership, delegates from all over the world agreed to a new climate treaty to stop global warming. – Washington Post
Dominant Social Theme: Hollande is not getting the credit he deserves. The world is a safer place thanks to him.
Free-Market Analysis: This Washington Post article provides us with a calm analysis of what's going on in French politics within the context of the French terror attacks. Written in a matter-of-fact style, it evaluates the electoral mood in France and provides us with a sober look at the candidates and their messages.
Here's some additional analysis:
One day later, however, things started to look far less encouraging for Hollande. In the second round of regional elections, his party won five regions, while former president Nicolas Sarkozy's party secured seven. In the first round a week ago, Hollande's Socialist Party had even come in a distant third behind Sarkozy's Republicans and the right-wing National Front, which emerged as the winner.
Hollande currently has record-high approval ratings of about 50 percent — up from 20 percent only a few months ago — but his popularity has not generated significant support for his party. His handling of the terror attacks in Paris in November has been credited for his rising approval ratings, but it remains unclear whether he will be able to use that momentum to avert the looming threat of a right-wing party gaining power in one of Europe's most populous countries.
This, then, is Hollande's task, according to the article – to utilize his post-terror credibility to boost his larger political agenda and enhance the prestige of the Socialists generally.
The article tells that the Socialists have joined forces with the Republicans to ensure that the National Front does not make more progress. But nonetheless, the National Front Party, unabashedly nationalistic and "conservative," is seen as the party to beat at a time when the French economy still sputters and anti-immigration passions remain high.
Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the party's founder, is a charismatic party leader who has managed to blunt some of the criticism regarding perceptions of the party's extremism. The article concludes that France remains polarized and Hollande will have to do more "to recruit conservative voters" in the face of the challenge from the National Front.
But contrast this calm assessment with something that is going on under Holland's watch post-terror attack: A move to suspend fundamental constitutional rights in France.
Theintercept.com recently posted an article entitled "'Emergency' Measures May Be Written into the French Constitution." The article points out that right after the terror attacks, "François Hollande announced that France was reestablishing border controls, and used a 1955 law to proclaim a state of emergency." This is the law that may now be codified as part of the French constitution.
This 60-year-old law gives French law enforcement wide and sweeping powers, freeing them from much of the normal judicial oversight. The law gives prefects, the French government's local representatives, the ability to place people under house arrest, based merely on the suspicion of the intelligence service that they pose a threat to national security. They can also order police raids targeting any place where they think information about terrorism may be found, without a warrant.
… Since last month's attacks, there have been some 2,500 police raids, and nearly a thousand people have been arrested or detained. French local and national press are now full of reports of questionable police raids. So outrageous were some cases that the French Interior Ministry had to send a letter to all prefects reminding them to "abide by the law."
The state of emergency has already been criticized by the French Human Rights League, which called it "a danger to civil liberties." Yet "François Hollande, speaking in front of both chambers summoned in Versailles two days after the attacks, announced his plan to modify the French constitution in response to terrorism."
On December 1, the government presented its plans in this regard, including a measure that would enshrine the state of emergency in the French constitution. A second part of the plan would allow the government to strip dual nationality from someone convicted of "crimes against the fundamental interest of the Nation," or terrorism.
The article points out that the two changes, taken together, create a situation where France is fulfilling the agenda of the "far right" National Front party that has campaigned for similar laws. "We've been surprised by François Hollande," Marion Maréchal Le Pen is reported to have said. "There has been some positive reorientation."
Neither of these articles focuses on the just-concluded climate summit that France hosted and that has been hailed as a triumph for Hollande. However, post-summit revaluations may cast it in a less successful light. Meanwhile, questions about the French terror attacks themselves continue to percolate, certainly in the alternative media.
Unfortunately, a case can be made that worldwide action to control global warming remains an over-reaction and that the entire French terror-attack scenario is a good deal more complicated than has been officially reported. If this is the case, then once more, perhaps, we are witnessing a kind of "directed history" where unclear or inaccurate events are seized upon to generate a draconian, anti-freedom evolution.
The changes to the French constitution would indeed be unfortunate and even provide us with a sense of the hysteria that led to France's darkest chapter several hundred years ago – the bloody French Revolution when so many crimes were committed in the name of the state.
Presumably, such bloody times will not return, but the situation certainly demands watching. In this new terrorist era, many kinds of vigilance are required.
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