France’s big year is around the corner — follow it with us

The last round of the conservative (Les Républicains — LR) primaries, which is taking place tonight, has captivated an unusually large part of the French population. With them, a lot of Europeans and Americans seeing in France the potential next disaster for the West (one of the most glaring examples in this WaPo oped) in the face of a potential Marine Le Pen victory.

It actually seems at this point that the French presidential elections, which will take place in late April and early May 2017, are only seen from the prism of whether Marine Le Pen will win or not — and for a lot of people outside of France, whether Paris will gravitate towards the orbit of Moscow.

It is of course natural to imagine the worst-care scenario; as a matter of fact, both Alain Juppé and François Fillon ended their debate a couple days ago claiming they were “the best candidate to defeat the FN in the second round of the presidential elections”. This does not make a platform and is very much the tree that hides the forest, a tree that the press seems to be contempt at blindly admiring.

France’s presidential elections will be first and foremost about the economy. No one wears burkinis in the winter.

The coverage of the conservative primary has sometimes bordered on hysteria, especially in the English-language press. Of course, France is a complex country to understand, especially when our parties come up with the genius idea of having open primaries for the first time in … forever.

With all this in mind, Martin Quencez, a great friend of mine, who is a Fellow and Program Officer at the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and myself, have decided to take to Medium to provide you with our analysis of all things French elections.

Conservative primaries end tonight, and will be followed by the Socialist primaries in late January 2017. And — bonus points if you knew it — legislative elections, in June 2017, will follow everyone’s favorite presidential elections. Therefore, we will aim on a regular basis, until the summer, to provide short and precise analyses about the dynamics, the people, the parties, the fun stories… All in English, so you can go beyond the coverage of your favorite newspapers and magazines.

Don’t ask us if Le Pen will win though, we’re not pollsters. Does that make us more trustworthy?

Martin Michelot & Martin Quencez