17% approval seemed so nice...

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Asyncritus, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    A couple of weeks ago, François Hollande's approval rating was at 17%. It was another nth record-breaking low for presidential approval in the 5th Republic here in France; he has been breaking his own records regularly since relatively soon after being elected.

    But a few days ago (Friday, I think, just before I left for the week-end), polls showed his approval rating at only 13%. Kind of makes him wish for "the good old days" when he had 17% of the people with him. Also makes you wonder how low you have to go before you have to wonder if you really are a legitimate president. (He said a couple of days ago in a speech that "No poll can invalidate the mandate given by the French people," which means he doesn't intend to step down, even though lots of people are calling on him to do so.)

    And over the week-end, a new poll added even more bad news: 85% of the French people don't want him to run again, and the same poll shows that if presidential elections were held now, the far-right Nationalist Front candidate would come in first. Despite the fact that the left and the right traditionally band together against the far right, working on the principle that the other side of the aisle is still preferable to the extremists, the same polls show that the Nationalist Front candidate would beat François Hollande in the second round of presidential elections if the two of them were matched head to head.

    The socialists in France are woefully incompetent and the UMP (the political right) is suffering from major scandals, especially about campaign finances. This is probably an even worse time for French politics than for American politics. I won't support either of the major parties in the States, and I find myself unable to support anyone in France, either.

    :(
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  2. K.

    K. Sober

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    What would happen if he did step down? Is there a direct replacement, would some political body or the whole nation have a vote?
  3. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Makes me miss Jacques Chirac
  4. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Gay™ Formerly Important

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    He was the one that fooled around with that actress last year, right? :unsure:
  5. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    New presidential elections.

    The Socialists would almost certainly nominate someone much further left, because part of Hollande's problem is that he is way too moderate. But the only way they won the previous election was by having a moderate. Someone farther left is pretty much unelectable, especially as the Socialists are not exactly popular right now.

    The right would probably either nominate Sarkozy or go with Alain Juppé, a former Prime Minister. The result in the first round would probably be Marine LePen (National Front) in first place, then the candidate from the right in second place. In the second round (the runoff election), the Socialists would hold their nose and vote for the right, the way they did in the election between Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie LePen (the father of Marine LePen).

    Neither of the candidates the right is likely to field would be stellar, but they would probably at least be satisfactory to their own camp, which is not the case for Hollande. And either one of the prime candidates for the right would have more guts to take a stand in the world than Hollande, who is a joke.

    The new president would then dissolve parliament, leading to new parliamentary elections shortly afterwards. The Socialists would get bombed. The right would probably come out in first place, with the National Front in second place. But neither of them would have enough seats to put together a government. Since they wouldn't work with each other, the only option would probably be a left-right coalition. Which wouldn't be popular, but the German example would count for a lot, and it wouldn't actually be all that bad, in my opinion. It would result in a more or less centrist government (such as we have now, actually), but one which had broader support than the current government.

    The worst-case scenario, of course, would be people being so fed up with both left and right that they gave an actual majority to the National Front. I think I would be very tempted to move to Germany if that happened...
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  6. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    He isn't doing much fooling around at all these days. He's 82 years old, I believe. I think you're thinking of the current president, François Hollande.
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  7. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    Isn't he in very serious legal trouble?
  8. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Not exactly. There have been allegations (which he claims are politically motivated -- that may or may not be the case), but nothing that makes him ineligible. According to French law, if he is elected, he can't be tried, arrested, or otherwise troubled legally for anything but the most serious crimes, until he is no longer president, so all of that would have to be put on "hold" for five (or even ten) years. And past experience with Jacques Chirac shows that all the accusations tend to disappear completely when the guy disappears from the political scene -- no one cares enough any more to try to discredit him politically by digging into campaign financing and all that kind of stuff.

    Polls in France show that Sarko could be re-elected quite easily. He hasn't yet said whether or not he is willing, though.
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  9. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    This seems to be a flaw in Presidential systems. To win often requires that a candidate present as a centrist, but such a candidate cannot gain strong legislative support because the rival party doesn't care, and the President's party doesn't consider him true to their politics.
    And here is the really interesting part, because the country goes through the trauma of a resignation, new election, legislative maneuvering, to end up with the same result, only with better support. Wouldn't it be easier if people just supported that result the first time, rather than go through the messiness?
  10. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    Sure it would be easier. But it would require politicians to tell the truth at all times so the people could make a better choice.

    I bet the current government promised them everything under the sun and now that that dream has collapsed the people are upset realizing they picked wrong.
  11. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Async, how much are problems with immigrants factoring into all of this?
  12. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Yep. Remember how Democrats used to say they couldn't support such and such Republicans, but if the Republicans would nominate someone like McCain, that would be different? And remember how that worked out? There is a reason for which centrists have little success.
    The point is that it wouldn't be "the same result." Just because two governments are centrist, doesn't mean they are the same. A govemnent that is pretty much centrist, but in which your own party has no say whatsoever, is not the same as a centrist government in which you have some say.
  13. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Quite a bit, where the popularity of the National Front is concerned, but almost not at all where the Socialists are concerned.

    The National Front is basically a "France belongs to white French people" party, but with a strong dose of "cut back government spending" thrown in. That makes them popular with people who are sick of paying so much in taxes and other things that go to the state, particularly among employers. Lots of small employers are supporters of the National Front, because they know that they need to hire help, but can't really afford to do it, because an employee costs them almost $3000 at a very minimum and they can't be at all sure that with the extra help, there will be enough extra income coming in to make that worthwhile. But "employment protection" laws are so strong that if you hire someone and things don't work out, it isn't easy to let them go again.

    Personally, I have strong doubts about whether the National Front would change much at all where taxes are concerned, but it makes a nice promise. Kind of like the Republicans talking about "small government" or the Democrats talking about "diplomacy instead of guns" -- when it comes right down to it, they just don't follow through. What the National Front promises is basically to cut back social programs for immigrants, but that would actually be pretty hard to do. A lot of "immigrants" are French citizens, and it would be really hard, in today's world, to put laws in place that would make it possible to distinguish between citizens on the basis of how many generations their ancestors have been here.
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  14. The Flashlight

    The Flashlight Contributes nothing worthwhile Cunt Git

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    France? Don't care. They surrendered to the Nazis. It doesn't matter what croissant-gobbling poof is elected, it's a failed nation that will eventually be overrun by muzzies, just like Britain.
  15. K.

    K. Sober

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    I must protest. You're supposed to adopt our insane policies at gunpoint, not voluntarily.

    Seriously, you're telling me that our current coalition counts as a success in French eyes? We're despairing here.
  16. Baba

    Baba Rep Giver

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    Isnt national front french nazis?
  17. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    I said nothing about success, but only that it has been done. Without that example, a left-right coalition would be unthinkable in France. But with that example, it would be better than a coalition between the right and the far-right, and it would be better than going months without a government, the way Belgium did.

    I also know for a fact (I am married to a German, remember) that your opinion about how good or bad the current government is, is not the universal opinion of Germans. Compared to a lot of the rest of Europe, Germany is doing better in the current economic crisis than most.
  18. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    No. Not even neo-nazis. But although they are perhaps not actually fascist, they do have some fascist policies.
  19. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    You don't say. :chris:
  20. K.

    K. Sober

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    The latter is definitely true. I don't think we have an awful government. In fact, I think approval of Merkel isn't that bad, and although I'm not in her camp, even I don't disapprove of many of her policies too vehemently. But the specific idea of a "Large Coalition" is almost universally condemned, so much so that followers of both involved parties have said that they wished their party had given up their claim to govern for this period, rather than allow for that unopposed behemoth to rule.

    Actually, the lack of any remaining largish opposition might be part of why Merkel's approval isn't too badly damaged. There literally isn't that much oppositional discourse to point out her flaws. Clearly, that can't be good in the long run.

    Talking about the long run, if we assume a large coalition in France for the next governing period, is there any realistic chance that that will change again, given that the only remaining third power is too radical for cooperation?
  21. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    I think the idea of a "Large Coalition" in France would be pretty universally condemned as well. No one likes having to work with "the enemy". Furthermore, the results are never to anyone's liking; they are always compromises.

    But there is quite a difference between the principle (which no one likes) and the results (which aren't actually all that bad). It's like when one party has both houses of Congress and the other party has the White House in the States: Each party blames the other party for all the ills of the world, for blocking them, for being the reason they don't get things done. Each party desperately wishes they had it all. But the results are actually much better than when one party does have it all.

    There will always be opposition parties in France, to do what opposition parties need to do. A Large Coalition would not include the Greens, the Radical Left, or the National Front. None of them can actually govern, but they will probably amount to at least 30 or 35% of Parliament. That is quite enough to work as a credible opposition. And the other alternatives (governing with the National Front, or doing without a government) are even worse. The idea of one side having a real majority, all on their own, simply is going to have to be put aside for a while in France, because both sides are too discredited to do it.
  22. K.

    K. Sober

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    Our experience has been very different. The two coalitioned parties hardly argue at all amongst each other, and they have a supermajority in parliament. (I don't know what rules would come into effect in France's Parliament here; we only really found out now what rules we effectively had when the opposition dropped below a certain percentage, as commissions etc. allocate seats and sessions allocate speaking time by size of fraction.) What we have now is a government that can do almost anything it likes unopposed.
  23. Dr. Krieg

    Dr. Krieg Stay at Home Astronaut. Administrator Overlord

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    France should just dispense with the Bullshit, and make Jean-Christoph, Prince Napoleon the head of state. Third Empire. :bailey:
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  24. tafkats

    tafkats scream not working because space make deaf Moderator

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    On the other hand, Rick Snyder won in a landslide.
  25. T.R

    T.R Don't Care

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    McCain lost because the economy went into the shitter during the election. Once that happened Dems could easily run pictures of him posing with Bush and claiming falsely that it was the Bush/McCain policies that led the country down the river.

    Far as those people who always make claims that they would support someone from the other side because he or she is a centrist...That lasts about as long as it takes for the Chris Mathews or Shawn Hannity types to say "That person is an extremist." and presto chango those same centrists are now seen as extremists.
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