Monthly Archives: April 2017

 Shooting in Champs-Elysees

A couple of days before the first round French Presidential Elections, Central Paris became a victim of terrorism once again making the country the most unsafe town of the E.U to live in.

According to the Pierre-Henry Brandet, of the French interior ministry, Thursday 21st night at 9:30, in Champs-Elysees, one gunman named Karim Cheurfi, with automatic Kalashnikov assault rifle, came suddenly from nowhere and started shooting on a police van and killed one police officer and wounded couple of them. Not just that, he also fired on the civilians standing nearby. France police officials retaliated in response and he was shot dead in no time.

According to witnesses, Cheurfi parked a car behind a police van on the Champs-Elysees last  Thursday  21st April night and emerged from it with a Kalashnikov rifle and started firing the window of the van. The police officer who was sitting on his seat died immediately.

c2176f8d6ec6510a916cace550e674a56e8b2601370fefb8e4ce11c4d593de01_3935708Karim Cheurfi was born on New Year’ Eve in 1977 in the Livry-Gargan (93160) Suburb of north-eastern Paris.

He was living in the eastern suburb of Chelles after emerging from prison in October 2015 and his lawyer has revealed that he was having a mental disorder and was psychologically ill.

Hours after the attack, news came out from the source close to CNN that the Cheurfi was a French national and he had charges against him of shooting two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car. During the interrogation, he also snatched the gun of the police officer and shot him three times.

ISIS issued a statement claiming the responsibility of the attack and said that it was carried out by an Islamic State fighter. The claim came from the statement by the media wing Amaq of the ISIS.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.

Champs-Elysees is one of the major tourist attractions in Paris and millions of visitors visit here, especially the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument. However, the place is shut down by the officials due to security reasons.

The US President Donald Trump did write a tweet by predicting that the attack would have a big effect on presidential election which in fact at least on the first round didn’t have much of an impact since the poll were indeed right.

France has been a victim of Islamic terrorism since 2012 and there is visible anger in the citizens.

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The First round of the French Presidential elections is over and results are interesting. Clearly, no one party has gained clear majority and two candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will runoff for the next round on 7th May. As many election analysts had predicted, the Champs Elysees attacks did not make much impact on the minds of France citizens. Marine Le Pen, the hardcore right wing candidate is on the 2nd run than Emmanuel Macron who got 24.01% votes compared to Le Pen’s 21.30%.

 

What if I have to predict about French Presidential Elections 2017?

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Democracy is considered as an ideal tool to rule and run any country or province. It is the government of the people, by the people and for the people as said by the Former US president in his famous Gettysburg Address speech in 1893. However, the tables are turning in the 21st century, and the democracy is no longer same as our ancestors had imagined. The exceptional sweep by Mr Donald Trump in 2016 US elections, have defined some new meanings of democracy, and the curious question lies in the hearts and minds of people across the world is: will 2017 French Presidential Elections be a game changer in the French politics or it will only repeat what is happening in a so called democratic country like America.

If you are crazy enough to think that you can trust the exit polls altogether, let me tell you, you should not.

After the incidents like US presidential elections and Brexit, it is not wise to trust exit polls altogether. The problem with polls is that people sometimes don’t convey what their hearts tell them.

The fall of François Fillon:

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Until December, there were only two strong participants in the French Presidential race- François Fillon and Marine Le Pen. Well, things did not turn out well for François Fillon due to some serious accusations to him like securing a fake job for his wife and children with public money (around 800000 €). Also, recently, he was accused of forgetting to declare to the HATVP (High Authority for Public Life Transparency) a 50000 € loan granted to a billionaire friend to whom he gave the Légion d’Honneur when he was at the government. The chances of François Fillon to win the elections dramatically fall from 66% to 19% in recent polls and a name which Marine Le Pen should (?) take seriously is no more François Fillon, but Emmanuel Macron.

Emmanuel Macron:

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The recent polls predict that Emmanuel Macron will win the elections against Marine Le Pen with 60-40% margins. However, as I said above, you cannot trust polls completely as Le Pen has more than 15 years of experience in the active politics compared to Macron’s mere five years.

The world seems to accept extreme Right wing ideologies (India, US elections and Brexit). In this political scenario, the chances of winning the right thinking are high.

Also, we should not forget that most of the voters prefer a good and direct orator and Emmanuel Macron has this quality. If you have seen his recent debates, you must have noticed his consistency, direct approach, excellent debating tactics and innovative ideas.

Also, he listens what his opponent has to say, and that is something commendable. He won his first debate with flying colours and had qualities to appeal the mass. He may win huge acceptance among voters, especially liberals.

However, there are some serious issues associated with Macron, and one of the main problems is his unjustified attempt to transpartisan. In his speeches, he tries to please right wingers and left wingers and ends up angering both. A recent example- You must have heard his views about gay issue in the recent speech.

Marine Le Pen: a firebrand right-wing idealist:

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Though you must have read about her a lot nowadays and some of you might hate her, but she very well knows that pulse of the public and has an enormous political experience to help her out. She is an outspoken, excellent orator and a hardcore anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. You can compare her with the US current President Donald Trump who has already started taking decisive steps against Muslims and illegal immigrants. Marine Le Pen has seen and studied French Politics carefully and knows how it functions. When she became a leader of the Front National, she sidelined her own father and supporters and reached out to mostly untouched communities like LGBT, women and religious minorities like the Jewish community by softening her party ideologies.

She speaks firmly in debates, whether it is about leaving the European Union or reducing the immigration or going back to the France Franc as currency. Her voters come from diverse backgrounds and races. If you have seen exit polls closely, you must have noticed that Le Pen’s voting margins are not fluctuating like others in spite of her political and financial scandals. She clearly has sounds and loyal voters, and this is the most important thing for her to win.

Mélanchon

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Then comes Mélanchon, he came a long way, and he might get the votes from the indecisive and pass the first round. He appeals to the youth and has his loyal and sound crew as well. However, who would be against him???? Le Pen? This would mean that we will have to pick between the two extreme political parties and this is the scariest thing that could happen in our elections. Knowing my Frenchies, it is not an option to joke on… It’s entirely plausible to my point of view.

Voters, the final deciders

Sunday is coming fast (D -2) and it is not worth to predict what the French people think.

And I apparently feel like these votes will be led by 4 categories of voters:

  • The intellectuals: they swing votes depending on the political programme offered by the candidates, they traditionally vote right or left wing. Their decision is purely a question of opportunity. What’s right for them and their families?
  • The Passionate Swingers: former loyal voters, mostly from the French middle class, fed up with the traditional parties. Former loyal voters, they swing their votes over the last few years, voting now for extremes in desperate need for solutions for the country.
  • The Loyals: supporters who are always voting for the same political party. They believe in parties and not in ideas. They will never vote outside their party whoever is in charge.
  • The Indecisives: they are the most volatile obviously. They think too much. They will probably make their decision on the day. They might even not vote at all. They could vote for anyone including the Extremes. They are sick and tired of the current politics and after being former Loyals and maybe former Intellectuals, they are deeply concerned about the future of their country and want to try something else. They will either vote with their heart & gut or not at all or only between the two final candidates.

I can’t wait to be voting this coming Sunday. It would be interesting to see who French people choose. Whoever leads and takes over the seat, Intellectuals, Swingers, Indecisives and LOyals, we all hope that the new president will work for the betterment of the people and be caring for the hard-hitting issues, France is facing right now.

Frenchie

XoXo

French Election: Religion & Politics?

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France goes to the polls in 10 days to elect a new president. Will the National Front’s Marine Le Pen pull off a Brexit-style victory?

French Ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert was delivering a lecture on France’s foreign policy and its challenges at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies or BIISS in Dhaka.

Aubert said religion is a “complex issue”. “We must be very careful before the misuse and manipulation of religion at the political level.”

France is at war with this jihadist movement outside the country: Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad. In the Middle East, in Iraq and Syria. Despite the fact that the French are not “really” living these wars, they’ve already been labelled as War of Religion or the “Invisible WW3”.

In fact, most of Le Pen’s voters are rejecting Islam and its conviction, still shaken by the attacks which happened in Nice or Paris and also more recently in London and really concerned by the national security.

The three biggest concerns of the French are:
1 – immigration (coming first for 38% of the population)
2 – Security (coming first for 30% of the population)
3 – unemployment rate (coming first for 12% of the population)

Having these numbers in mind, the French population also feel like they are facing a cultural and ideological threat with Islam first being the most practised religion in France feeling like the country is losing its identity. In fact, a lot defended her when she mentioned back three years that Muslims holding prayer services in the streets of Paris (Chateau Rouge) felt “like an occupation.”

On April 23, the French will go to the polls to cast their ballot for one of eleven candidates, four of whom are polling at or near 20 percent. Two weeks later, they will choose between the top two vote-getters. Any of the top four could conceivably make it to the second round.

The population is sick of the traditional politics: left wing, right wing… Bye! They ready to give a chance to “newest” parties such as Le Front National and Le Parti Communiste! Of Mélanchon. The latter had a dramatic seven-point surge recently, unexpectedly turning France’s roller-coaster presidential race into a possible four-way contest where anybody could be elected really. And 32% of the French population still doesn’t know who they are voting for…. Scary…

Well, religion doesn’t govern our politics nowadays but certainly dictates the community’s choices regarding candidates. Hence Le Pen’s rise these last couple of years.

À vous de juger!

Frenchie xxx