French elections: disinterest and apathy

The French legislative elections coming up on Sunday and on June 16th have been met with a wave of apathy after the excitement which saw Jacques Chirac votes back into the Presidency by an unconvinced 80% of the French population.

The newspaper Liberation writes: “The legislative campaign drags on between boredom and indifference, as if Mass had been celebrated on 5th May and the next election was to be no more than a formality”.

A formality it is not, since the French people have to decide whether to continue with the strange political habit of “cohabitation”, where a right-wing President has to collaborate with a left-wing Prime Minister. Chirac and Jospin formed a pretty duo as they turned up side-by-side to international conferences but will the French people again elect a leftist parliament?

The opinion polls suggest not, giving the right-wing parties an advantage over the left by 41 points to 36.5 but what marks these elections is an absence of political dialogue. As the daily newspaper L’Est Republicain claims, “This campaign will go down in history as that of electoral minimalism. No ideas, no projects. Cohabitation was the exclusive subject of debate”.


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