Fillon fighting on
Fillon fighting on

-Analysis-

PARIS — Political junkies everywhere are getting used to the rush of watching election campaigns defy the laws of physics. Just a few weeks ago, the path looked all clear for François Fillon to become the next French President in the vote later this spring. By yesterday, the former center-right Prime Minister looked to be barely hanging on to his candidacy, even seeming to confirm that his chances had been killed by the "Penelopegate" scandal, calling the deepening judicial probe into the hiring of his wife, "a political assassination."

But Fillon is not dead yet. And the victories of the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump should teach us all the imperative of stretching our imagination. Though considered a mostly staid and conservative figure through his career, Fillon seems to thrive in taking on the role of victim of prosecutors and the press. A similar strategy helped him win the center-right party's primary election in November, gaining momentum after accusing the media of trying to decide the outcome for the voters by emphasizing that it was a two-man race between a pair of other candidates. His underdog message resonated with a significant part of the electorate.

In France, as in other Western countries, there's growing hostility toward the media. A recent study on the French public's trust towards the country's institutions showed that only 24% trust the media and journalists. Also noteworthy is the level of trust towards the justice system: just 44%.

Though centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron has been rising in the polls, the original "pre-Penelopegate" scenario could still come to pass in the two-round election — but with a twist. The failure of the outgoing center-left government and general rightward shift of the electorate may still mean that Fillon and nationalist right-wing leader Marine Le Pen are the two survivors of the first round of voting. Before the drama of his legal troubles, Fillon would have been considered the favored establishment choice in the runoff, with Le Pen using her own longstanding battles with the media and magistrates as the firebrand outsider. Now a Fillon-Le Pen showdown would be a contest of two candidates running hard against the establishment. Defying the laws of physics indeed.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!
Geopolitics

Why Ghosts Of Hitler Keep Appearing In Colombia

Colombia's police chiefs must be dismally ignorant if they think it was "instructive" to expose young cadets bereft of historical education to Nazi symbols.

Nazi symbols were displayed in public at the Tuluá Police Academy

Reinaldo Spitaletta

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — Adolf Hitler was seen in 1954, wandering around the chilly town of Tunja, northeast of the Colombian capital. The führer was, they said, all cloaked up like a peasant — they even took a picture of him. Later, he was spotted nearby at the baths in the spa town of Paipa, no doubt there for his fragile health.

A former president and notorious arch-conservative of 20th century Colombian politics, Laureano Gómez used to pay him homage. A fascist at heart, Gómez had to submit to the United States as the victor of World War II. He wasn't the only fascist sympathizer in Colombia then. Other conservatives, writers and intellectuals were fascinated by Nazism.

Keep reading... Show less
Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ