After French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut was chased from the Place de la Républic in Paris amid insults by members of the Nuit Debout movement, he and others have called the protesters undemocratic. Nuit Debout highlights just how divided France is. The daily Swiss Le Temps comments:
Its increasingly radical nature is exposing cracks that the French political and intellectual system is no longer able to repair…. A month after its inception, Nuit Debout embodies the flip side of the French Republic a year before the presidential elections of 2017. Part of France’s youth, tired of broken promises, is tempted by radicalism. And a radical leftist fringe entertains the myth of a new dawn. A large part of the right, by contrast, wants order more than anything else.
The arrest of a former president Nicolas Sarkozy is so unusual that it raises questions about whether the steps taken by the French judiciary are justified.
Opinion writes (June 20): “Are the judges getting their own back against the man who so often pushed them around? Could it be that their agenda directly reflects the political calendar?
“…Do the various affairs, each of which leads to new ones – with the result that no sooner are cases submitted to the courts than they are dismissed – bespeak a well-functioning judiciary? Will the mounting number of cases shake the faith of Sarkozy’s supporters?
“…These profound doubts give rise to feelings of unease. In a sick country, where negative economic and social developments are the order of the day, the suspicions that pervade all spheres of public life have convinced many citizens that politics is a lost cause. This does not bode well for democracy.”
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Christophe Barbier on France’s zombie politics in L’Express (June 17):
“The French opposition party UMP is being rocked by scandals, the government is having a hard time coping with strikes, the unions are plagued by infighting – French politics today is like a haunted graveyard.
“In the UMP there are more scandals than ideas and less dedication than ambition. It’s like a crypt where the corpses stab the skeletons in the back….
“French politics has entered the zombie era. You can see it in the way the latest strikes have been dealt with: like vampires, the unions fight their internal feuds to the detriment of the public and the French GDP; a ghostly government is incapable of standing up to the railway employees or the temporary show business workers with anything other than ministerial out-of-body experiences; the bewitched members of the National Assembly put ideology above the well-being of the nation….
“Under this starless sky some people have already plunged into the nether world of populism. Others are trying to rub their good wills together to create a bit of light and chase away the ghosts. But will there be enough of them?”