Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Could Toulouse turn things around for Sarkozy?

  Prior to the events of Monday, Nicolas Sarkozy was on an upward streak.  Although he is still polling a distant second to François Hollande in the second round, he is steadily eroding the gap in the first round.  The momentum is increasingly with his campaign.  However, with just five weeks to go until the first round of voting, it would take more than just momentum for Sarkozy to nurture any real hopes of winning.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Can Marine le Pen Feminise the Front National?

Marine le Pen is the candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party in the presidential elections.  She follows in the footsteps of her father, Jean-Marie le Pen, who contested every previous presidential election for the party and succeeded in qualifying to the second round of voting in 2002.  Marine has succeeded in providing a new image for the party – one that is younger and more modern.  Of interest here is whether she has also succeeded in feminising the party.  The traditional FN electorate comprises two men for every woman.  If she wants to repeat her father’s success from 2002, she will need to bring more women voters on board.  The ideal time to do this was 8 March, International Women’s Day, when all French candidates were invited to take a stance on women’s issues.  The positions that she took were fascinating.

Friday, 2 March 2012

François the Feminist? Or Hollande the Hypocrite?

  Six days before International Women’s Day (which the French take seriously), François Hollande assembled his party’s feminists at his campaign headquarters and rolled out his proposals for gender equality.  At first glance, they look pretty impressive.  He’s offering the following:
  • A parity government
  • The reintroduction of a Women’s Rights Ministry
  • The removal of all state funding for parties who do not respect the parity law (by fielding an equal number of men and women candidates for parliamentary elections)
  • Big businesses will have one year to sort out the gender pay gap, or else lose national insurance credits
  • There should be an abortion clinic in every hospital, fully funded by the state
  • There should be more shelters for victims of domestic violence
  • Children should be taught gender equality in schools
  • Secularism (laïcité) is a safeguard of gender equality