Background: The French have changed

When she was learning Hebrew in the kibbutz, a few months before she made aliya, Rachel was asked the classic taboo question: "Who will you vote for?"

April 22, 2007 21:59
2 minute read.
Background: The French have changed

france 88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


France's presidential campaign has seen many surprises, and more are still to come. It's been five years since the French last met at the ballot box. Then, 28.40 percent of the electorate stayed home during the first round of voting. A lot has changed in five years. France has 3.3 million new electors, young people voting for the first time, and several new candidates. Indeed, Nicolas Sarkozy, S gol ne Royal, Fran ois Bayrou, Fr d ric Nihous and G rard Schivardi are all making their maiden runs for the presidency. However only the first three on the list actually believe they can be elected, or at least finish in the top two places and reach the runoff. And it seems the French have a lot to say on the subject. As of Sunday evening, the turnout had already reached 74%, 15 percentage points more than at the same time in 2002. However, the campaign's main interest is being created not by the candidates themselves, or even by their political platforms, but by the electorate. The French have changed. Until 2002, two questions were taboo in France: "How much do you earn?" and "Who will you vote for?" In 2007, people say who they will support and why they like a particular candidate and dislike another. And for the last two or three months, it is all they have been talking about. The French elections have always the scene of debates and television shows where celebrities take a stand and publicly support a candidate. But this time, the phenomena has spread. Everybody takes a stand. However, journalists still face difficulties if they express their opinions, even in private. Alain Duhamel of French Television was suspended for the duration of the campaign after he said in a private discussion that he would vote for Bayrou. And Duhamel's colleagues at French Television, B atrice Sch enberg, who is married to a minister, and Marie Drucker, who is dating one, decided on their own to take vacations until a new president is chosen. Still, the change in behavior is widespread. For example, when Rachel was learning Hebrew in a kibbutz, a few months before she made aliya, she was asked the classic taboo question: "Who will you vote for?" As a French woman, raised in the values of the Republic, she was angry and offended. She saw the inquiry as an invasion of her privacy. Today, Rachel not only replies to the question without blinking, she even asks it herself. What can explain this new attitude? The shock created by far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen coming in second and reaching the runoff in the 2002 vote is a main reason. Those who oppose him want to publicly affirm their disdain for the man, and his supporters are no longer afraid to be seen as such. Politics now interests the French. They finally believe it matters and that their vote matters, and they want to shout it out loud.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Stop Antisemitism staged a large protest outside the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles where Ilhan Omar wa
March 25, 2019
More than 10,000 people sign: Investigate Omar, Tlaib and CAIR