France holds the first, primary round of its national elections tomorrow. There are eleven candidates running from the extreme right to the far left. The Daily Beast‘s Christopher Dickey and Erin Salezky have the details:
Let’s be just that blunt. These elections could fuck us all. They have turned into an insane gamble—Russian roulette (and we use the term advisedly) with at least two of the chambers loaded—and the implications for the United States are huge.
The biggest winner in the forthcoming French presidential elections may well be Russian President Vladimir Putin, in fact. And while he might have played a few of his usual dirty tricks—indeed, in 2014 a Russian bank funded the party of Marine Le Pen, the current first-round leader in the polls—Putin can now sit back and watch the French themselves try to destroy the European Union and the NATO alliance he hates so much.
Less than three weeks from now, in the final round of the presidential elections, the only choice left to the voters of France could well be between Le Pen, a crypto-fascist, or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a charismatic communist, both of whom are strongly anti-EU and anti-NATO.
Victory for either one would mean an end to the political, diplomatic, and economic order that has protected the United States as well as Europe for the last 70 years, preventing the kinds of cataclysms—World Wars I and II—that cost millions of lives in the first half of the 20th century while containing first Soviet and now Russian adventurism.
There are other possibilities, but as the French prepare to go to the polls (or flee them) this Sunday, April 23, the possible outcomes are a total crapshoot. The four top candidates in a field of 11 are in a virtual dead heat; the differences between their scores is within the acknowledged margins of error by the pollsters. The top two finishers will vie against each other in a run-off on May 7. And the reason something like panic has set in among many French, from the heights of the political establishment to conversation over espressos at the counters in working-class cafés, is that the candidate with the most solid base is Le Pen, while the one with the most momentum is the far-left Mélenchon.
Much, much more at the link.
Sp we wait for the results of tomorrow’s primary. And then we wait for another two weeks to see just how much more interference there is in the French elections by the Russians before knowing just how much damage may then be done to the EU and NATO. Campaigning for tomorrow’s elections was suspended, per French election law, last night, but events that could effect the election continue. This includes the potential political fallout from Thursday’s attack on French law enforcement at the Champs Elysees* and an orderly arrest of an armed man at the Gare du Nord in Paris earlier today.
— FranceNews24 (@FranceNews24) April 22, 2017
Stay frosty and sleep well!
* This was a strange attack in terms of what is being reported as motivation. While it is true that a note regarding ISIL was found next to the deceased shooter after he had been killed by French police, he had a long criminal history and it has been reported that he hated law enforcement as a result. So while ISIL has claimed responsibility, it is unclear what, exactly, ISIL actually had to do with the attack. Cheurfi’s lawyer had this to say:
Jean-Laurent Panier, who defended the suspected Champs-Elysée gunman in a theft trial, said he showed “no sign that he belonged to any movement, or of radicalisation”.
Mr Panier added: “He was very solitary, someone who was particularly isolated. He lived with his mother and had contact with his father, and there was a family that tried to support him but felt powerless.”
Cheurfi had a long criminal record and spent more than a decade in prison for attempted murder.
The lawyer painted a picture of a naive man, who took part in a theft and was “left to face the music” when his accomplices fled.
“I never got a sense that this was someone who would be radicalised,” Mr Panier said.
He had been questioned in February over threats to kill police officers but allowed to go free.
He was not on the police “S” watchlist of known terror suspects although he appeared on the counter-terrorist services’ radar last December, according to ‘Le Monde’, slightly earlier than previously thought.
At the time, police were tipped off that he wanted to “kill police officers to avenge Muslims killed in Syria”, said the newspaper citing security forces. He was also seeking weapons and a way of contacting an Isil contact in Iraq or Syria. A judicial inquiry was opened in Meaux but this was not terror-related.
Regardless, whatever political impact results does not have to, and likely will not be, related to whatever Cheurfi’s actual motivations were.