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Why France's Election Results Don't Bode Well For The Future

Analysis: François Hollande is well-positioned after Sunday's first round of voting to take the presidency from Nicolas Sarkozy. But the strong showing by far-right candidate Marine Le Pen confirms that the French Republic is a deeply divided pla

Are Sarkozy's reelection hopes dead? France, in any case, appears torn apart (Ruadhán Mac Cormaic)
Are Sarkozy's reelection hopes dead? France, in any case, appears torn apart (Ruadhán Mac Cormaic)
Pierre Veya

PARIS - With the results of Sunday's first round of presidential voting, the French electorate has called for change.

Three main points confirm this fact. First, voters rejected Nicolas Sarkozy, who finished with 27.18% of the ballots, behind his main rival, François Hollande (28.63%), in the initial round of balloting. Secondly, they handed third place to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (17.9%), a choice that will destabilize the right and its ability to bring in centrist voters. And finally, they have given Hollande a very real opportunity to become the next president of France.

Of course, if Le Pen's tally had been lower, Hollande could be more confident about victory on May 6, when he will face off against Sarkozy.

As a standing president, Sarkozy ended up with historically poor first-round results, but his showing was still credible within the context of the serious economic crisis. Still, it's impossible not to notice that the center-right candidate lost his ability to attract support outside of his own party. The French seem tired of his promises and missteps, irritated by a president who constantly fires off new proposals, lacks coherence and loses credibility with each new day.

In 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy was a man of promise, of hope, of disruption. In 2012, the voters see a president without a project for governing.

And then there is François Hollande, who has run a campaign with hardly a false step. It allowed him to take and keep an early lead from his impatient and agitated rival. No, Hollande does not arouse fervor and passion, but he reassures a France that feels abused by the powers-that-be.

He also knows that he can rely upon the supporters of far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished the first round in fourth place. Alhough the Front de Gauche candidate did not explicitly cite François Hollande by name during remarks he made Sunday evening, Mélenchon's endorsement of the Socialist Party candidate seems sincere and will probably guarantee most of his supporters' votes.

All eyes on Le Pen

It is all the more important because Mélenchon fears Marine Le Pen's popularity. The latter's result is the real surprise of Sunday's vote. The rightest National Front leader is the key to the second round in two weeks. She won't spare Nicolas Sarkozy. On the contrary, she introduced herself as the leader of the opposition on Sunday, in the face of a Socialist Party on its way to victory.

Nicolas Sarkozy had succeeded in weakening the far right thanks to his tough speech on immigration and security. But he is now an easy prey for Marine Le Pen. The traditional right is weakened and Marine Le Pen will do anything to step into the vacuum and become the anti-left heroine.

To sum up, François Hollande is in a strong position to become the next president of a France whose divisions are too deep to make clear choices. The country is going through a deep economic and moral crisis. The first round of the 2012 election is a bad omen for France's future. The country that desperately needs reforms could grow increasingly unstable and unpredictable.

Read the original article in French

Photo - Ruadhán Mac Cormaic via Storyful

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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