The Brief – Trump language obscures race for Élysée –

As the French presidential elections on April 10 and 24 approach, the idea that the ballot could be stolen or rigged is gaining ground, a claim advanced by candidates from all political backgrounds who seek to distract and manipulate or sincerely believe.

But stolen by whom? On this point, none of those who cry foul is clear.

Jfar-right candidate Éric Zemmour fanned the crowd at a rally last Sunday, assuring them that he would “wash away the affronts of the right, the affronts of the people who have the legitimate feeling that they have been stole his vote for too long” adding that “the masked vote” will reveal itself on April 10.

Earlier in the week, Conservative candidate Valérie Pécresse urged her supporters not to “let the election be robbed”.

And then there is the sovereignist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who has repeatedly complained of a “rigged election from A to Z”. He would have become Marine Le Pen’s prime minister in 2017, if she had won…

Since then, he’s wallowed in conspiracy and anti-vaccine theories and peddled Kremlin arguments.

His Trumpian approach has been pretty consistent, crying foul in advance – just like the former US president did ahead of the 2020 election.

Likewise, the radical left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon predicted in the summer of 2021 that “in the last week of the presidential campaign, we will have a serious incident or a murder”. His remarks rejected by the entire political class and qualified as “a mixture of paranoia and conspiracy” by Marlène Schiappa, minister responsible for citizenship.

Now we don’t know who will win. Even if Emmanuel Macron is the big favorite at this stage, his victory cannot be taken for granted. Especially since the French tend to cut off their heads – figuratively speaking. Of the four presidents before Macron, only two have been re-elected.

More than a third of voters are unsure of their choice, so everything can still change very quickly, and the polls could turn out to be wrong.

Add to that a beautiful sun on D-Day, and some less politicized or less convinced French people may prefer to go away for the weekend rather than go to the polls… And that adds another layer of uncertainty.

Le Pen has never been so close to victory – and Macron’s teams worry about it, both on TV and “unofficially”. Mélenchon is also progressing slowly but steadily and could create a surprise.

Regardless of who wins, to suggest that the election is rigged is irresponsible, increases the public’s sense of mistrust in institutions and only adds more fuel to the already heavy political climate in the country.

With activists pumped up and convinced they’ve been cheated, a “Capitol mob scenario” isn’t impossible.

Perhaps not in the same form, but we may have forgotten too quickly the massive demonstrations of Yellow Vestswhen citizens, angry with the system and demanding to be heard, occupy the streets of Paris every Saturday for months.

One of their leaders, Priscillia Ludosky, has already warned that “if Macron is re-elected, there is a good chance that I will call on people to take to the streets”.

The future president will have an important task: to reconcile and heal a country that will emerge fractured from this election, and to think of a new, fairer and more representative regime, far from the “republican monarchy” of which the Fifth Republic is accused. to be.

But they won’t be able to do so if other politicians and commentators continue to “cheat” political life.

The roundup

New rules presented by the European Commission on Wednesday March 30 aim to better protect consumers against false environmental claims and introduce a ban on greenwashing and planned obsolescence.

Read this article as part of our special report Food Sovereignty and the War in Ukraine: As the EU banned the import of potash, a key mineral fertilizer, from Belarus under the sanctions regime, test mine drilling additional potash in eastern Germany Sounds promising.

EU lawmakers received hundreds of emails from the crypto community trying to influence a key committee vote on Thursday regarding information requirements for cryptocurrency transfers.

Faced with soaring electricity prices, the French government has set up a tariff shield for the year 2022 in order to protect the most vulnerable households. However, this measure will not last forever, said spokeswoman for French election candidate Valérie Pécresse.

When Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, Russia’s ambassador to NATO and the EU referred to it as one of the Kremlin’s “Trojan horses”, referring to the power that the Russia could exert on the EU thanks to its new links with Brussels.

Reaching people in need remains the biggest challenge for the Ukrainian Red Cross, especially in frontline places like Mariupol, where dozens of failed attempts to deliver humanitarian aid.

European Reference Networks (ERNs) have started sharing knowledge to help more than two million Ukrainian patients with rare diseases, with one expert describing the condition of those still in the country as “catastrophic”.

EU lawmakers have quizzed European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager over new guidelines that would allow self-employed workers to seek collective bargaining protection, with both sides agreeing such a right should be guaranteed.

Giving citizens a say in decision-making beyond elections can help leaders make better decisions, but sharing power requires a clear division of roles, politicians and experts have said.

Like every Wednesday, don’t forget to consult our Green Brief and the Health Brief, the weekly summaries of political news.

Pay attention to…

  • The European Parliament organizes a webinar on the war in Ukraine: disinformation versus reality.
  • The French Presidency of the Council of the EU hosts the meetings of the Directors of Continental Europe and the Directors of Fisheries.
  • The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is organizing a meeting on Achieving Gender Equality in Parliament: Expert Meeting for International Stakeholders and Academia.

The views are those of the author.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox/Zoran Radosavljevic]