French parliamentarians –
left or right, including the Socialist Speaker of the House – stick tooth and
nail to their perks. The opposition is crying out against what they call being
taken back to the times of Robespierre's “Terror” under the French Revolution.
November 25, the Catalan elections illustrated the fact that, in politics,
nothing is ever sure. But also, and more importantly, that nothing is ever as
simple as politicians would like it to be.
Former president Sarkozy's UMP party
is torn apart by the trial of strength between former PM Fillon and Party chair
Copé. Both have claimed victory in last week's extremely tight election, pointing
to several cases of fraud. Many fear this might result in an implosion of the party and a
reconfiguration of the French right.
It is too easy for armchair analysts, in the cosyness of their far away
study, to deliver a death sentence to the historical reputation of a man who
did what he thought was the only, the final thing to be done.
The choice is
difficult: none of the alternatives easy to accept. But is it not the case that
those who riot in the Arab world or in our own capitals represent only a minute
fraction of the billion plus Muslims in the world? Even if many were indeed
shocked by this mockery.
As Catalans massively take to the streets of Barcelona to demand independence, we are reminded that the Catalonian question is far from settled. And the current economic crisis exacerbates old, underlying tensions.
The first round of France’s presidential election leaves the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a tight corner. Its result also presages a longer struggle over the future shape of the country's political right, says Patrice de Beer.
The tragedy in Toulouse has changed the atmosphere of France's presidential-election campaign. The emergence of a left-wing candidate makes the first-round outcome even harder to predict. But beneath the drama, the country's politics remain far behind a changing society, says Patrice de Beer.
France's disillusion extends beyond the country's president to its political class, economy and sense of social direction. The beneficiaries may include the far-right Marine Le Pen as well as the centre-left François Hollande, says Patrice de Beer.
An insipid economy, a tornado of scandal, anaemic support, an alienated core, internecine war on the right, a show of opposition unity - France’s president faces a perfect storm all of his making. But are these really Sarkozy’s last days, asks Patrice de Beer.
The ending of the legal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves France’s socialists still looking for a strategy - and a candidate - able to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012. They have a tough legacy to overcome, says Patrice de Beer.
The arrest in New York of the head of the International Monetary Fund and leading French politician on charges of sexual misconduct is a confusing and revelatory moment in France's public life. Whatever the legal outcome of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s case some uncomfortable truths have to be faced, says Patrice de Beer.
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"As students of politics is it is vital to study the power of imagination."
-Professor Charles Tripp, SOAS