Albrecht SONNTAG
Professeur d'études européennes - ESSCA

After having accompanied the French election campaign(s) in a series of 25 posts in 2016/2017, I felt tempted to do it again in the even more uncertain context of the 2022 presidential and parliamentary elections. With the objective to cast an interdisciplinary look on the issues that seem essential to me for a deeper understanding of French politics and society.

Posts are listed below in chronological order, just click on the title to access the item:

  1. "Back on the couch", 10 January 2022.
    French election campaigns are a painful experience for any observer who follows them with a minimum of empathy for this country. It is only fitting that the main TV event of the forthcoming spring will be the second season of "En thérapie".
  2. "That elusive cohesion", 21 January 2022.
    What keeps French society together? A good question. Increasingly difficult to answer. And one that the nations keeps asking itself with increasingly nervous apprehension.
  3. "Why June is more important than April", 03 February 2022.
    Understandably, the presidential election monopolises all the attention. But this year around, it might well be that the power of the president elected in April will depend to a large extent on the results of the parliamentary elections in June.
  4. "The credibility gap", 21 February 2022.
    The right-wing tilt in French politics is real. Paradoxically, at the same time, all three right-wing pretenders that are currently jockeying for position in the race to win the second spot for the second round of the presidential election are battling with serious credibility issues.
  5. "And then there was war.", 4 March 2022.
    French election campaigns are usually navel-gazing, with foreign policy issues are all but absent from the debate. But the war in Ukraine has swept everything else in the background and changed the campaign dynamic. It has also put quite a few candidates under pressure for pro-Russian stances and statements.
  6. "Stumbling blocks in collective memory", 26 March 2022.
    France loves commemorations. Many of them are consensual, but there is an increasing number of not-so-pleasant memories from the history of colonialism and slavery that impose themselves on the commemorative agenda. Are they stumbling blocks or stepping stones for a society slowly trying to come to terms with the sombre pages of its past?
  7. "Echoes of 2002", 7 April 2022.
    Each presidential election is different from the previous one. Yet there are some eery echoes from April 2002 when the Front national candidate qualified for the second round for the first time.

Photo: © Beth / Flickr

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