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Archive for the ‘French Politics’

Can we have an Obama in France?

November 06, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics, French news 2 Comments →

I am still in France till tomorrow. Like French people, I have been following the election results on TV. I was amazed to see that every French channel was following the election. It sounded a bigger deal than when French president Sarkozy was elected.

89% of the French population supported Obama. It was the same in Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium,…almost all over.

Barrack Obama ’s election is a big deal not only for the Americans, but for the French too. It raised the following question: “Can an Obama be elected in France as well”? The answer is NO.

This is very sad but it is true. The French government is still racially biased, even more than the French population. Sociologist El Jamine Soum has been interviewed on France 2 today and his answer was clear. There is still a lot of discrimination in French Politics, in the right as well as in the left parties. The motto:”Liberty, Egality, Fraternity” is  still far from being true.

Hopefully this new election will be a model for France and other countries. I have been American for 2 years now (before I was Belgian) and I can say that today, I am proud of my new country.

New controversy about Sarkozy Wedding

September 17, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics, French news No Comments →


Jean Sarkozy, the son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has not only followed in his father’s footsteps by embarking on a career in politics, but also by walking down the aisle in 2008.

After a two-month engagement, Jean Sarkozy, married his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Saubon, on Sept 10, 2008. The young couple exchanged vows in a small civil ceremony in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the posh Paris suburb. So privé was the wedding that guests were informed of the event only by text message. Apparently, President “Bling-Bling” Sarko (who married his current wife, former model and singer Carla Bruni, within four months of their introduction), didn’t plan the modest nuptials.  

Alas, the celebrations may have been tarnished as news of the wedding resurrected talk of cartoonist Maurice Sinet, 79, who was fired in July from Charlie Hebdo, the Paris political saritirical weekly, for a remark he made in his column about Jean and Jessica that critics — and later the publication — deemed anti-Semitic.

Saubon, heiress to the Darty family fortune, is Jewish. When the young couple announced their engagement this summer, rumors began to circulate that Jean was planning to convert to Judaism. Though young Mr. Sarkozy, a Catholic, has Jewish roots (Nicolas Sarkozy’s grandfather was Jewish), he and his family made haste to dispel the myth. Sinet, however, used it as fodder for his column and took a shot at Jean:

“[He] has just said that he wants to convert to Judaism before marrying his fiancée, a Jew and heiress of the founders of Darty. He will go far in this life, the little one!”

Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Phillipe Val, initially asked Sinet to apologize and retract the statement, which suggested that by converting Jean was elevating his financial status, an idea that smacks of the old stereotype about Jews and money. Read more at

Boycott of the Olympics Torch Relay from Paris to San Francisco?

April 03, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics, Sports No Comments →

Olympics ceremony at the eiffel tower

On Monday, april 8, the Olympic Torch will pass through Paris. Seventy French athletes will carry it on a prestigious itinerary, starting from the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower and going down the Champs Elysees, to pass under the Arch of Triumph.

But many critics have risen and many people have urged the French government to boycott at least the Opening Ceremony of the games this summer, in order to show that they disagree about the Chinese policy in Tibet.

No decisions have been taken yet, but on Monday, human rights will certainly be in the spotlights. Protests are expected on the way. Bertrand Delanoe, the socialist Mayor of Paris, has decided to display a banner on the City Hall with the following statement: “Paris defends Human Rights all over the world.” Moreover, the torch carriers will wear a pin with this message: “for a better world”.

Then , in the evening, the torch will leave the City of Lights to reach … San Francisco, another place where human rights are not taken lightly. Will it stir some protests too?

(The eiffel tower pic is from

Clinton, Obama, McCain … Who do French people like in the primaries?

March 13, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics No Comments →

What a long race! It seems that the primaries are taking forever… Will there be any time left for the real campaign before the actual presidential election? Of course, you must be used to it, but to tell you the truth, it is the first time that American primaries have taken so much space in European media. Only Kennedy had generated such an interest as a candidate.
In Europe, polls (if they can be relied on!) seem to favor the Democrats, especially Barack Obama; it is ultimately visible in Great Britain where the “Obamamania” has developed in the whole country. We may regret that people focus on the personality of the candidates, instead of focusing on the issues and the programs.
Even though Europeans won’t have to choose between Obama, Clinton or McCain, it matters to them because American policies regarding world issues such as conflicts in the Middle East, global warming or the subprime loan crisis have affected them. Globalization is invading politics and everything in the world is now connected.
Indeed, some British elites wish they could take part in the election of the candidates. In the Daily Telegraph, Simon Heffer explains that being the States’ main ally, the British should have a vote to select this special partner they will be dealing with. How would you feel about that?

A test for President Sarkozy

March 05, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics No Comments →

On March 9 and 19, the French are to renew their mayor and local councillors in all  French municipalities (France has almost 37,000 cities, towns, villages…altogether). Voters are all French citizens and  residents issued from European Union countries over 18. Voting days are always held on Sundays. The mayor and his/her municipal councillors are elected for a six-year term by direct universal suffrage.

In small towns and villages, people do not always vote according to their political views, but see the candidate as a person, because they personally know him/her and his/her competence.  However, winning a major city is very inportant for political parties. Paris, for example,  has been run by  socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoe, for 6 years and right-wing leaders are dying to get his position.   His main opponent is Françoise de Panafieu from UMP, President Sarkozy’s conservative party.

This election will be regarded as a national political survey that will tell President Sarkozy if people are satisfied with his policy. Journalists and survey specialists are anticipating a severe defeat for his party but everybody knows that surveys can be wrong …

President Sarkozy got married…

February 05, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics No Comments →

Nicolas sarkozy’s wedding

He did it!!!  Just like he had said it would happen, it was a very discreet ceremony. It happened Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Elysees Palace (the presidential residence in Paris) at 11 am. Only close friends and relatives attended.

President Sarkozy’s recent results in opinion polls showed that the French were getting tired to see him and his personal life described from A to Z in all the magazines and newspapers. His ratings were falling so fast,that he seemed to have learnt a lesson. His wedding was barely mentionned in the news so far.

Now, he has a very busy social-economic week ahead and he will have to postpone his honeymoon … but maybe the honeymoon is already over!

Note that the picture is not his wedding but from a parade in EuroDisney. I thought it was appropriate since it is in Euro Disney that Sarkozy “paraded” with Carla Bruni as his date. (picture from

French President Sarkozy’s love life …

February 03, 2008 By: jgrandchamps Category: French Politics 1 Comment →

I can’t believe my first post is about President Sarkozy but watching the French news inspired me.

France elected a new President, Nocolas Sarkozy, in May 2007, from the conservative party UMP. The new leader has ever since symbolized changes. Even though he is issued from the conservative government of President Chirac, where he was the home secretary until last year, he has decided to promote modernity in a political world that is not too inclined to break away from the right and left clivage.

Yet difficulties did not only arise from his political ways.  Indeed the surprise did not come from his ideas about ruling France but about his way to manage his personal life.

He was the first to closely associate his family to the presidential campaign. He seemed to have no problem having his second wife Cecilia and his children from different marriages or his stepchildren on the frontpages of the worst French newspapers. However his divorce in September 2007 shocked the French people who realized everything had been a facade.

When he got involved just a few weeks later with a famous French/ Italian singer and ex-topmodel, Carla Bruni, a lot of his fans were disappointed to see him move so quickly. His wedding is now the new topic that keeps the tabloid press busy, especially because President Sarkozy declared a few weeks ago that when the journalists will know about the date of the wedding, it will be already done …