Reality and states of democracy in France according three Youth Peacebuilders Multipliers

France has been known for its democratic advances. We’ve had the Lumières in the 18th century, leading to the revolution in 1789, and we’ve had a democratic regime for ages (even though there have been backlashes with the 2nd World War).

France relies on what we call ‘representative democracy’. It means that the people do not have direct power, but they delegate this power to representatives that are expected to be trusted. Citizens’ will is expressed through these representatives, who are voting laws and controlling government.

France also is a presidential regime. This means that powers are strictly separated, between the executive, judiciary and legislative. The executive power lies in the hands of the president, who occupies an important place.

Even though France is one of the oldest European democracies (since 1848), there are numerous problems arising, such as the impressive increase of the abstention rate, but also the rise of the far right.

The presidential elections are coming soon (May 2017), it will be a crucial issue.

We will elect our president for a 5 year term. This person represents the whole French people and always has a very important task.

At this point in time, all the candidates are presenting their election campaign. Marine Le Pen, president of the National Front, a far right conservative political party, is one of the leading candidates for the presidency.

With the Trump election in USA and the aversion of the politics, we are really scared of the influence of Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections. Indeed, her program is really dangerous for European integration, for the minorities, and for many other fields: for the society in general. To give only one example, she recently claimed that she would like to make foreign people pay fees for the school access.

One of the main challenges of the 2017 elections is to stop far right progression and to reduce the abstention rate. We do not want to find ourselves in a similar situation as in the year 2002, when Jean Marie Le Pen, at the time president of the National Front, reached the second elections’ turn. There was a strong mobilisation to say NO to Jean Marie Le Pen. Let’s hope that, if the same events were to happen again in 2017, the outcome would not change.

On the other hand, we are also wondering if the candidates are legitimate to lead us. We are dealing with many democracy issues.

The under-representation in politics of minorities and women is striking, as well as the inefficiency of public politics. Scandals are also recurrent.

Recently, the Republican candidate for presidency, Francois Fillion, was accused of having created a fiction job for his wife. A scandal which clearly questions his legitimacy. Still, he is still running for elections. Added to that, recurrent cases of sexual harassment and rape from male political leaders towards female colleagues.

Therefore, citizens are mostly feeling far away from the politics. They are losing interest and don’t vote. It is particularly dangerous in this climate.

As a young French people, we are particularly preoccupied by the politics in our country. We think it is important for the youth to be involved more in the political field. We can have a huge impact on the decision-making and can bring something new. Let’s not forget about that !

During our talks, we were on the same page about some cultural facts like French people eating snails. We were also agreed about France society having various cultural background(s) and still feeling French. That point can also be a serious issue in our country. We came to realize this point in a funny way : we were representing the diveristy and we realise that we draw different unit all side by side and not mixed.

There were also some facts about which we did not have the same opinion. For example, despite France having a strong democratical history, French have they “civilian culture” ? Is civic education should be stronger or is it enough?