Crony politics: The case of Ségolene Royal, a candidate self-labelled by the socialist party “too big to fail”
With two noticeable sentences, Hugh Carnegy (Financial Times, Wednesday, Paris) remarkably summed up french politics inner power circles. That first one « “President Normal”, was plunged into a political melee when his journalist girlfriend tweeted her support for the opponent of Ségolene Royal, the Socialist president’s former partner, in Sunday’s parliamentary elections » is related to crony politics whereas the second one « Mrs. Royal was parachuted into a left-leaning constituency as compensation for supporting Mr. Hollande in the presidential race. But Falorni, a local party stalwart, objected and stood against her » is tellingly of the immoral standards french politics have plunged into those 30 latest years coinciding with the Socialist party arrival to power in 1981. Miss Royal along with her former partner who has become President helped by her precious transfert of voices are the remnants of this french exceptionnalism managing and mixing public mandates, the power of state, money, sex and family affairs inside the office, in plain sight.
Before the economic downturn, the scenario went on in total indifference. People were astonished but not to the breaking point. Then came President Sarkozy’s provocative style blowing out the windows. With the arrival of President Hollande, people were convinced some change would happened ; but as the like of things, the electoral process would remain unchanged. Candidates labelled « too big to fail » or apparatchiks won’t stop at anything to keep their old baseless privileges positions taking democracy into hostage. How long will all this last ? French people are tired of those politicians unwilling to leave the stage and ready to use all the institutional tools at disposal even the worst of them to win an election.
How can Mrs. Royal come out and say « President Hollande has assured her “very clearly” of his support ». As the mother of french president four children, this is the least thing he could do. What is the necessity to speak it out clearly and loudly ? Here lies the key problem of those french parliamentary elections that have lost taste and interest. Lawmakers used to to be elected to represent their constituency in the National Assembly. That was before 2002 when Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, changed the law and moved the parliamentary elections after the presidential election. Starting from that moment, it became clear that lawmakers would be elected no longer as the Advocates of their territory to plead some local projects, but to bring support to the action of the president.
What is surprising is such a big move and distortion of the spirit of the set of powers ruled out by the Constitution was voted without consulting the french people by a referendum. This is socialist way of ruling. Opacity and abuse of power magnified by the “La Rochelle” drama. Indeed this is another setback of democracy.
The problem with those 2012 parliamentary elections where the abstention is more than half of the total voters is some areas – the national average is around 40 % – is the repetition for the worse of the presidential vote where the abstention was already around 20 %. If you ad to this the 2 million blank votes of the presidential election, then you can’t call those latest presidential and parliamentary contests a clear vote or a healthy democracy.
A lot of confusion is out there : Segolene Royal’s case is not a private matter, it is about good governance which begins with the respect for the rule of democracy including the neutrality of a president during the elections as a sign of respect for the equity of the race and to all the citizens of the nation. Apparently, change is not for tomorrow in France. Personaly, I’m not surprise. I pity those who believed in.
In so telling, we praise Alexis Tsipras of Greece for his first words : for the first time, a Greek leader has recognized national responsibility in handling Greek crisis and to generate growth on their own. Yes, Greece is going to change. Judging by the first words of honesty from Mr. Alexis Tsipras, we feel like signs of improvement are underway. We are still waiting to hear the kind of song coming out from the new leader in Greece in the mouth of the French president. But it is not too late and tomorrow is another day.
No matter the outcome of the run-off on Sunday in La Rochelle. We want Royal meltdown to ring the bell for those 30-40 years politicians in power as an alert for them : « hey, this is time to say farewell ». 2017 should be the deadline. Get prepared for the exit and let the society free to move to another chapter of democracy.