Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The La Rochelle Drama

The French press has been distracted by the Trierweiler-Royal saga from the real story in the 1st District of Charente-Maritime, which is why a second banana like Olivier Falorni is in a position to eliminate one of the Socialist Party's elephants next Sunday. Some polls have Falorni winning with 58% of the vote, which is extraordinary. Royal is not une parachutée in the region. She has been its governor for years. To be sure, her candidacy was imposed by the national party on the local federation, but it is a district that has been reserved for a woman, so Falorni's challenge was a break with party discipline. Why are the rank-and-file voters supporting him? Is it Royal they resent? Is it the presumptuousness of the national party? Are there local issues that are driving this contest? The press has been remarkably uninformative about all this, preferring to concentrate on what the media clearly hope will be a mud-wrestling, hair-pulling contest between the "president's two women," as Hollande puts it. All this is diverting enough on a human level, but it leaves out the politics of the situation.

As for some of the overheated reaction in the comments section of a previous post, I can only say I am flabbergasted by the blindness that partisanship can induce. Hollande's connubial arrangements may be unconventional, but his predecessor's marriage to a gauchiste songstress who warbled about her "trente amants," who had affairs with a father and son, who slept with rock stars and prime ministers, and whose nude pictures can be found all over the Internet hardly fit the traditional mold either and certainly alienated more right-wing voters than Trierweiler's tweet is likely to alienate left-wing voters. As one commenter said to another, "Get a grip!"

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