France is to elect a new president in a year, and because the country’s domestic political situation is extremely dynamic, opinion polls are being followed more closely than ever before. While it is too early to know whether French President Emmanuel Macron will defend his position, the intermediate picture is also interesting, and the survey results are a good indication of how much France has changed in the 21st century.
The latest survey by the IFOP agency also included Éric Zemmour, a right-wing intellectual who is yet to announce whether he will run. Zemmour would receive 5.5 percent of the vote in the first round, slightly more than the Socialist candidate, the well-known Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Green candidate Yannick Jadot would receive the same percentage as Zemmour, and “communist” Jean-Luc Mélenchon would reach 9 percent. Thus, the ratio between the left and the right is about 20:80, especially if we do not assess leftism and rightism from an economic, but rather cultural and identity-related point of view that are important to the French.
Roughly speaking, every fifth French voter would vote for a candidate representing a multicultural approach to society. And the French nation is, in fact, already quite multicultural. According to IFOP figures, it seems that even among the descendants of immigrants, multiculturalism may not be particularly popular in the current European sense, meaning too much Islam in particular. After all, some may have moved to France precisely because they liked its Frenchness and do not want France to lose it.
In France, too, a “change of course” took place, with the traditional left gradually adopting post-modern “woke” topics such as gender, migration, multiculturalism, and changing all possible constants in life (language, road signs) in the name of even greater inclusiveness. Unlike the United States, however, this brought the local left to the brink of an abyss. The French political background is different, and the original French population does not suffer from such a strong sense of inadequacy because of the sins of the past. However, the difference in development is also strengthened by the unstable nature of the French economy.
In the end, most of those postmodern demands can be reduced to “give us money,” and the French state treasury, and even taxpayers, do not have that much money to give away.
The French majority two-round system is explicitly designed to favor the status quo, which means challengers have a hard time as they have to earn more than half of the country’s votes to win. And a quickly assembled coalition of all the other parties, whose sole purpose is to block someone’s path to power, can act as a very effective brake. But this only applies if the conditions have not shifted too much. If, on the other hand, they have really shifted that much, there will be a sharp leap instead of a gradual development, and the system, which has been hailed in Europe for years as a guarantor of maintaining centralized politics, will work exactly the opposite.
After Great Britain left the EU, there were only two really strong countries left: France and Germany. So far, Germany’s ideas revolve mainly around environmental “green” issues, whose main proponents, the Greens, do not hide their positive attitude towards multiculturalism. However, France is increasingly focused on the issue of its future identity and has moved strongly to the right in these matters. Even if Macron wins the election next year, he will have to pursue a policy not unlike the one Le Pen promotes.
Therefore, there will be no consensus on the future form of European migration and asylum policy. In a sense, it is good news. Perhaps, in such a situation, no one will push us to compulsory voluntary quotas for the redistribution of 30-year-old unacompanied “teenagers”. On the other hand, such an abysmal difference between Germany and France will likely manifest itself in a certain continental paralysis.
With the tacit consent of Paris, the Greek government will push smuggling boats back into Turkish waters with sound cannons while German non-profits will, with the tacit consent of Berlin, import customers of other smugglers from the Libyan coast to Italy.
Title image: French writer, politician and journalist Eric Zemmour speaks at the Convention of the Right, in Paris, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. The Convention of the Right, a first ever gathering of rebel representatives of the mainstream right and the far right. Among their goals is to defeat the “progressives” of centrist President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)