WHY SHOULD AFRICANS BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FRENCH 2022 POLLS?
The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will be held on the 10th of April 2022, should no candidate win a majority, which has been a tradition and a prediction of what will happen in April this year.
Two leading winners will be announced in the first round and then they will go for a runoff on the 24th of April. On the other hand, the legislative elections in search of the 577 members of French parliament. Will be held on the 12th of June and runoffs will be on the 19th of June.
For the presidential candidates to be listed in the first ballot papers’ runoff they need to have at least 500 signatures popularly known in France as parrainages. The 2022 French elections voters will be influenced by Covid 19/Health Sector, Nationalism and immigration policies, the Yellow Vest Protests, War in Ukraine and protests in French Territorial Islands. (Source France24)
The French elections are not only important to the French community however to Africa also as a community. As the policies of the winner of any elections in France have an impact in the day to day lives of their French former colony countries.
Mali which has been one of the countries in Africa that have been in good books with France, their relationship have become sour.
Especially since the military soldiers in France conducted a coup to it’s Government and the French government has been against the coup which was conducted not only in Mali but in other parts of the Sahel region .
In countries that include Niger and Central Africa Republic where some of French Troops were deployed as peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuses conducts .(Source Aljazerra)
The current government of France has been accused by residents of CAR for washing away these allegations.
However, one of the front runners in the April Presidential Elections, the incumbent President Emmanuel Macron has been trying to reach out to the former colonies of France. Although some doors that he has knocked in Africa, didn’t responded, the way the incumbet President Macron was hoping.
Emmanuel Macron has embraced the return of the African ornaments which were looted during the colonial era. Macron has also reached out to the Rwanda and accepted the role that France played in the Rwanda Genocide.
However, some of the victims of the Genocide believe, Emmanuel Macron would have done a lot during his tenure such as compensating the victims and apologising.
The past presidents of France have been accused also for not voicing out about lack of democracy in its former colonies such as Gabon, Cameroon, Tunisia and Libya. (Source LBNews)
Despite all candidates having highlighted in their manifesto that their main aim is to put the French Nationalism first. Of which the incumbet President has been accused by other hopeful Presidential candidates for not putting France first.
During Emmanuel Macron’s first term, the world saw French’s largest protest which was conducted by a group prominently known as the ‘Yellow Vest’.
The Yellow Vests accuses Emmanuel Macron’s government of higher prices and some members accuse him of neglecting ‘nationalism’.
Macron’s first term comes to end on the 13 of May ,he became the last hopeful presidential candidate to announce his bid to the office for a second term.
In his statement speech, which was provided to the public, Macron he agrees that his government has made some failures have he encouraged the French voters to give him a mandate that he will use to build a strong country.
“Over the past five years, we have faced many trials together. Terrorism, the pandemic, war in Europe rarely has France been faced with such an accumulation of crises.
“We have not succeeded in everything, I am a candidate to defend our values…”, said Macron. (Source BBC News)
While the main rival of the incumbent President, Marine Le Pen of the National Rally who announced her presidential bid. Doesn’t agree that the incumbet President Macron will put the French nationalities first.
Marine Le Pen’s family has been in politics for the past 20 years and this will be her third time contesting for France’s biggest office. She has won the support from French Nationalists who are against the illegal immigration.
Marine Le Pen has promised to halt abuse of the right to asylum.
Her policies about Africa are not clear. Marine Le Pen’s main obstacle to run for the second round is Mr Zemmour. Mr Zemmour’s popularity has spread across the Europe continent and the African Arab nations.
Among his policies is to strip the dual citizenship, majority of former French colonies in Africa their citizens have the French dual citizenship. (source BBC News)
Mr Zemmour’s policy is believed to be targeting the immigration policy however some political analysts believe this will affect several Africans residing in France and in Africa. Sir Zemmour’s manifesto doesn’t highlight much about Africa.
Another candidate whom some polls believe will be the main obstacle for President Macron to make it to the second round is Valerie Pecresse. If she wins she will become the first female French leader. (source Aljazerra)
Her policies have been viewed as similar as Macron’s however she has seen as a candidate who can balance both foreign and french policies. France is witnessing the Exodus of illegal migrants via the Mediterranean by African nationalities. Whoever who is going to win the elections in the second round, will be facing a huge task as they will try to repair the French and Africa relationship.