It is interesting to ask the question what interest Africa could possibly expect from the current presidential election in France. What could an African political leader wanting to embody a third way in Franco-African relations hope from the presidential election?
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The first round of the presidential election has just delivered its verdict. Finally, the French people set their sights on a confrontation MACRON/LE PEN. The polls have seen just this time but could pass by if they can not decrypt with discernment the seemingly artificial dynamics of Republican support that is taking shape in favor of Mr. Macron.
The logic of “everything except the National Front” seems on the right ramp. However, every serious political analyst must be cautious. Indeed, unlike the Chirac/Le Pen duel of 2002, this second round of 2017 seems to be an uncertain outcome.
A careful and non-partisan political analysis of the French political situation suggests that the time of Marine LE PEN may have sounded for several reasons.
The first is linked to the international geopolitical context and its propensities to return to economic protectionism and radical nationalism: the election of Donald TRUMP as head of the world’s leading economic power and BREXIT as illustrators. In addition, the global economic outlook is not very bright, due in particular to the rise in the barrel of oil, which contrast with the favorable projections drawn by the IMF. These are all threats that should anticipate intense migratory movements and the possible return in force of the simplistic solutions proposed by Mrs. Le Pen on employment.
The second reason relates to the French political context itself. In spite of declarations bordering hypocrisy, the main tenors of classical French political formations, no actor today has an interest in seeing Macron elected President of the Republic. First, because he is considered an opportunist who has intelligently exploited an anachronistic political situation marked by a socialist party incapable of carrying out an effective government policy, a left political side disoriented by the dissensions between Hamon and Mélenchon and a right political side entangled in the nebulous affaires. Without forgetting the intense desire of the French citizens to experiment new solutions to stop a persistent economic and social degradation. Today neither the heart nor the reason of the French politicians defeated in the first round could objectively support the advent of a young political movement, full of ambition that risks ringing the death knell of old political formations whose natural ambition is to return to government.
From our point of view, Macron was a small common denominator in the first round. To be convinced of this, it is permissible to see how high personalities such as Manuel VALLS or HOLLANDE in a more timid manner have, on the pretext of the useful vote, supported his candidacy. The second round is likely to be different because, like Donald TRUMP, whose disappointments, gropings and errors have tired a lot of American citizens, voting for LE PEN would be to opt for a short transition. Short in view of the negative assessment and the rapid disappointment that the French people may have about its management but also because the national front risks not having a majority in parliament. After the betrayal of Hamon and Fillon, Macron was in danger of experiencing the harsh laws of politics
Thirdly, French citizens are no longer interested in voting instructions. It is so mature that it will breach arguments such as Marine LE PEN is an enemy of democracy. Indeed its acceptance by the French media and the changes noted in its program made it an ordinary candidate like all the others. She is no longer demonized today. Moreover, it is to emphasize the eagerness with which MACRON accepted to debate with her, which Chirac had refused in 2002 in front of his father. MACRON on his side drags the image of a “has been” otherwise co-responsible in the first degree of the catastrophic performance of François Hollande in view of the importance of the functions that he occupied. These various elements will certainly be taken into account.
Unless there is a radical change in parameters such as a reasonable mobilization of abstentionists or a massive occurrence of terrorist acts, the duel could be tightened with for the first time in France a real risk of seeing extreme access to power.
Whatever the outcome of the ballot, we do not have much hope about the capacity of the next President to transform qualitatively the Franco-African relationship. It is so misguided, archaic and superficial that it serves the interests of a small oligarchy in African and French states rather than those of peoples. It is, moreover, permissible to note that the Franco-African contribution to universal civilization is becoming more and more insignificant. In my capacity as a politician who wants to set up a third political path, particularly in the Franco-African relations, who originated in a country Senegal, globally respected for the quality of its democracy and its openness to the world, I would like to launch a triple appeal to the next French President: Normalize the relations which France maintains with the Continent; Consider these countries as full partners; To do this, for example, avoid singling Africa into the state apparatus by erecting a ministry dedicated to African affairs. Take the initiative of a saving monetary rupture on the CFA franc to allow your former colonies becoming independent countries to learn about economic issues; Take this example of the success of Anglophone African countries; Finally, reconsider your international policy by redeploying these colossal budgets devoted to military interventions and the maintenance of military bases for co-development, strategic intelligence and cultural exchanges.
By Magaye GAYE, Senegalese politician & President of the Senegalese Party the Third Way