The Weekly Dispatch - 28 November 2021
A polling update and an explanation, Zemmour's frustration surfaces, a crisis in the Antilles, and Le Pen demands Zemmour's loyalty.
The Weekly Dispatch is your weekly summary of the major events taking place in French politics, published on Sundays in order to give you the perfect way to catch up with French news and events.
Polling update (and an explanation)
On top of this week’s polling update, I’ve added a brief explanation following several requests on why I pick the polls I do and why I don’t focus on the wide range of polls for every LR candidate. If you’re not interested, feel free to scroll down!
Alternatively, if you’d like me to do a weekly update on every polling possibility, then drop a comment below or find me on Twitter and go ahead and ask!
Emmanuel Macron maintains his position as the preferred candidate in this pole, sitting at 25%, with Marine le Pen maintaining a similar position in second place. Following his recent issues, Zemmour continues his unofficial candidacy in third place with 14% of the vote, only slightly ahead of potential candidate Xavier Bertrand who currently sits in fourth place with 13%.
However, as I’ve been asked to clarify how polling is being presented in France and why I pick the polls I do, I want to give a brief explanation.
The caveat to these numbers is that they depend entirely on which of the Les Républicains candidates are being put forward in the scenario, due to the ongoing primary campaign.
If Valerie Pécresse is the LR candidate, for example, she sees a comparative drop of 3% of the vote compared to Bertrand, which gives Le Pen a 0.5% bump, give Zemmour a 1% increase, and also event adds an extra percentage point to Jean Luc Mélenchon.
If Éric Ciotti somehow managed to win the primary campaign within their party, current polling shows that they take an additional hit, with the candidate only receiving support from around 6% of electors. This leads to Macron receiving a 3% bump and le Pen receiving a 0.5 increase in support.
If Philippe Juvin is selected as the candidate, then the drop is even harsher, with an expectation that he will only be supported by 3% of the population.
Looking at the above, you can see the the scenarios are varied, and some candidates such as Bertrand and Michel Barnier, are more likely to be selected as candidates for the party in my opinion.
This is why any polling I add to these polling updates will be focused primarily on these two candidates.
But now, for what you read this newsletter for
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Frustration builds for Zemmour
Zemmour has recently been traveling to both London and Geneva as he has been looking to build up serious momentum behind his presidential bid, as well as to begin building up his war chest for the months to come as he prepares to officially launch his campaign on Sunday 5 December at the Zénith Paris.
However, things have not been going to plan. Having initially planned to be at the Royal Institute in London, the far-right ideologue had his booking cancelled at the last minute following “due dilligence checks”, and had to relocate his conference to a nearby Ibis hotel.
In Geneva there were other problems, with the event taking place following several security checks by police, and under the heavy atmosphere of several bomb threats having been made, as well as the heavy presence of Antifascist protestors who were carrying banners with “Zemmour get lost, Geneva remains antifascist!” on them.
There are also several other problems for the Zemmour campaign: They were still struggling to get the 500 endorsements of local officials for their campaign, sitting at around 200 on November 19.
However, the result of these international journeys remains to be seen. While a significant number of those partaking in the London event were professionals in finance, we won’t know the impact of this fundraising for a while.
Crisis in the Antilles
Following the decision to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health workers and firefighters in Guadeloupe, there have been several protests that snowballed into rioting and looting, which has also spread to Martinique.
With police officers in the region being targeted with gunfire, as well as makeshift Molotov cocktails, and with reports that an armoury had been looted, the French government reacted by sending 50 members from the elite GIGN and RAID tactical forces to reinforce the local security forces.
In an attempt to reduce the tension, the government have pushed back the mandatory vaccination deadline back to December 31st, but in a more surprising act, the French minister for overseas territories, Sebastien Lecornu, has stated that the government would be open to discussions on granting autonomy to Guadeloupe.
However, this offer is not necessarily the solution to the situation, with the vice-president of the Guadeloupe region, Sylvie Gustave, arguing that this is not what the majority of citizens want, and that the real solution would be to listen to what the unionist have been demanding.
With the particular position that French overseas territories hold within our country, not only as parts of the state, but also as key strategic points in terms of security and geopolitics, this would be a big change of the situation, and could even lead to ramifications for Emmanuel Macron’s re-election campaign, as well as for the members of La République en Marche who will be campaigning in the subsequent legislative elections next year.
Marine Le Pen demands loyalty from Eric Zemmour
Having previously announced that she would be making her decision on maintaining her candidature in January, Marine le Pen has now come out and claimed that Eric Zemmour has failed to transform himself from a polemicist into a presidential candidate.
Appearing on The Grand Jury, a political show focusing on political affairs, the leader of the Rassemblement National, who may be running her final presidential campaign, appeared to be attempting to force her competitor out of the election before it had even started.
“He does not seem very comfortable in this exercise” she stated, making a reference to the arguments that he got into in Marseille which involved some middle fingers being exchanged, as well as the fact that Zemmour doesn’t seem capable of fulfilling the promise he’s making of beating Emmanuel Macron.
Having made an incredibly brazen move on this show, however, she may find herself being further targeted by the far-right upstart, with such an insult unlikely to make any electoral alliance between the two candidates possible, and likely to upset his supporters.
Not only this, but it may even backfire within her own electorate, who may have been tempted by his proposals but who may have been holding back out of loyalty to their party and their leader due to her having a better image than the polemicist.