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National Front leader Marine Le Pen on Dec. 13
National Front leader Marine Le Pen on Dec. 13
Patrick Randall

PARIS — The French National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, failed to win a single region in the second round of regional elections Sunday despite leading in six of the country's 13 regions a week earlier in the first round. The center-right coalition led by Former President Nicolas Sarkozy won in seven regions, while the center-left of current President Francois Hollande took five, with Corsian nationalists winning in the island region of Corsica.

After a week of both the right and left factions of the political establishment warning of the consequences of a National Front victory, the French press described the far right's defeat as a victory of tactical voting, rather than any endorsement of either Sarkozy or Hollande. Indeed, a year and a half away from the next presidential election, the National Front reached a new high of support that shows that Le Pen, daughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, is in a strong position to run for the presidency.

Here's how four dailies covered the results Monday:

"RELIEVED, BUT…"

The left-wing Libération wrote on its front page Monday morning that France is "relieved, but ... ." the National Front still achieved its best results ever with a record 6.8 million of votes, or 28% of the total. "Not really a victory, not really a defeat," the daily continues about the far-right party's results. Although this shows once again the party's limits in national elections — what Le Monde calls its "glass ceiling" preventing it from moving beyond first-round victories — such figures could bolster Marine Le Pen in a probable presidential candidacy in 2017.

"DEFEAT FOR ALL"

Catholic daily La Croix chose to emphasize on its front page Monday the fact that Sunday's results symbolized a "defeat for all," and not only for the National Front. There is "no triumphalism on either side," the newspaper writes. It also quotes Prime Minister Manuel Valls warning that "the far right threat is not gone," and former President Nicolas Sarkozy stressing that these results "must not let us forget the warning we received in the first round."

"A CITIZEN SURGE"

Far-left daily L'Humanitéwrotethat the far-right defeat represented a victory for a "republican front" for which the left "paid the full price," with the loss of almost half the regions it headed in favor of the center-right. "It's a rectification shift from the first round, in the form of a citizen burst to stand in the way of the National Front," the newspaper writes.

It was above all a "tactical" victory that was confirmed by the daily Le Courrier Picard, located in a region that was highly threatened by the far right and that dedicated its front page Monday to this "Republican Surge."

"A REPUBLICAN SURGE"

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Society

Papá, Papá, On Repeat: Are We Men Ready For Fatherhood To Change Our Lives?

There is a moment on Saturday or Sunday, after having spent ten hours with my kids, that I get a little exasperated, I lose my patience. I find it hard to identify the emotion, I definitely feel some guilt too. I know that time alone with them improves our relationship... but I get bored! Yes, I feel bored. I want some time in the car for them to talk to each other while I can talk about the stupid things we adults talk about.

A baby builds stack of blocks

Ignacio Pereyra*

This is what a friend tells me. He tends to spend several weekends alone with his two children and prefers to make plans with other people instead of being alone with them. As I listened to him, I immediately remembered my long days with Lorenzo, my son, now three-and-a-half years old. I thought especially of the first two-and-a-half years of his life, when he hardly went to daycare (thanks, COVID!) and we’d spend the whole day together.

It also reminded me of a question I often ask myself in moments of boredom — which I had virtually ignored in my life before becoming a father: how willing are we men to let fatherhood change our lives?

It is clear that the routines and habits of a couple change completely when they have children, although we also know that this rarely happens equally.

With the arrival of a child, men continue to work as much or more than before, while women face a different reality: either they double their working day — maintaining a paid job but adding household and care tasks — or they are forced to abandon all or part of their paid work to devote themselves to caregiving.

In other words, "the arrival of a child tends to strengthen the role of economic provider in men (...), while women reinforce their role as caregivers," says an extensive Equimundo report on Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighting a trend that repeats itself in most Western countries.

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