When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

In France, A Push To Push Out Aging Politicians

A top figure in the Socialist party, Arnaud Montebourg is putting pressure on party leaders to not support candidates over 67, saying that new challenges require new blood. Not surprisingly, the proposal has sparked some heated debate -- and exposed a gen

Jack Lang, 72, says he's holding his ground (LCP)
Jack Lang, 72, says he's holding his ground (LCP)
Chloé Woitier

PARIS – The proposal set some French politicians' teeth on edge. Arnaud Montebourg, a top Socialist Party leader, wrote a letter to party chief Martine Aubry suggesting that any Socialist politicians who was 67-years-old or over be asked not to run for Parliament. Ahead of the next legislative elections in June 2012, Montebourg says he wants to rejuvenate the political class.

"Is it normal that socialist MPs, who maybe were elected in 1978 or 1981, who are approaching the end of their seventh or eighth term, reaching the respectable age of 68, 69, 70, 71, 72 or 73, declare they want to be reelected?" Montebourg writes in his letter to Aubry. "The world is changing so fast that rules that applied as recently as 10 years ago are now obsolete."

The proposal got some grumpy responses – especially MPs targeted by Montebourg like former ministers Laurent Fabius and Jack Lang. The latter, who is 72, and a member of the National Assembly, defiantly declared himself ready to run for a new mandate. "Were we to follow your criteria, (Georges) Clemenceau, who was 76 in 1917, wouldn't have been able to carry France to victory during World War I ... (Charles) de Gaulle, who was 75 in 1965, couldn't have been reelected and François Mitterrand, 71, couldn't have run for president in 1988."

Montebourg brushes the controversy aside. "Jack Lang is a very respectable man, but after all these years, wouldn't it make more sense for him to be a mentor for younger representatives?"

The proposal was studied "in an electric atmosphere" last week at a meeting of the Socialist Party. Martine Aubry for one did not appreciate the way her former rival at the Socialist primary elections shared the proposal with journalists before even discussing it internally. Montebourg is "trying to be popular," Aubry said, regardless of whether it is "in the interests of the party."

Montebourg is holding firm. "One or two people were outraged by it. But new ideas cannot be supported by a generation who was in charge 30 years ago," he declares.

Read the original article in French

Photo – LCP

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Society

Kleptomania, How A "Women's Pathology" Was Built On Gender And Class Bias

Between 1880 and 1930, there was a significant rise in thefts in department stores, mostly committed by women from the middle and upper classes. This situation brought with it the establishment of a new pathology: kleptomania. A century later, feminist historians have given new meaning to the practice as a protest against the social structures and oppressions of capitalism and patriarchy.

Photo of a hand in a pocket

A hand in a pocket

Julia Amigo

Kleptomania is defined as the malicious and curious propensity for theft. The legal language tends to specify that the stolen objects are not items of necessity; medically, it is explained as an uncontrollable impulse.

What seems clear is that kleptomania is a highly enigmatic condition and one of the few mental disorders that comes from the pathologization of a crime, which makes it possible to use it as a legal defense. It differs from the sporadic theft of clothing, accessories, or makeup (shoplifting) as the kleptomaniac's impulse is irresistible.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of the population suffers from kleptomania, being much more common among women (although determining exact numbers is very difficult).

The psychiatric disorders manual, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has included kleptomania since 1962. Previously, it had already received attention from, among others, Sigmund Freud. Like nymphomania or hysteria, kleptomania became an almost exclusively female diagnosis linked to the biology of women's bodies and an “inability” to resist uncontrollable desire.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest