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April 24, 2017

And you thought American politics were the wild west. Meet Daniel Delomez, the mayor of the town of Annezin in northern France. Delomez is so mad that 38 percent of his local electorate voted for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in Sunday's presidential election that he says he might step down, he told French publication L'Avenir de l'Artois.

"It is catastrophic," Delomez said. "It's possible that I will step down as I do not want to dedicate my life to assholes."

Delomez belongs to the Socialist Party; far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon received the second highest amount of votes in Annezin, after Le Pen. Le Pen will face centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in a two-way run-off election in May.

"Well done," one person applauded Delomez, as reported by The Independent. "He makes me feel better about humanity." Jeva Lange

April 21, 2017
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With France going to the polls on Sunday for the first round of its presidential election, President Trump has remained uncharacteristically quiet. "Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this," he tweeted Friday morning. "Will have a big effect on presidential election!"

If the tweet was meant as a prediction or endorsement of the success of far-right anti-European Union leader Marine Le Pen, it is a muted one compared to Trump's vocal support of the Brexit vote last year.

Trump's relative silence is an interesting one: Le Pen, like Trump, has taken a hardline stance against immigration and securing the countries' borders from the threat of extremists, and ideologically she shares much in common with Trump's senior strategist, Stephen Bannon. But one Trump associate told Politico that Trump knows he cannot get too involved in foreign elections: "Even if there was some sympathy, there's nothing a president can do. That would be very undiplomatic," the associate told Politico.

Former President Barack Obama has also danced around the French election, taking a call from Le Pen's rival, centrist Emmanuel Macron. While not an explicit endorsement, Axios noted that "Obama and Macron are ideologically aligned and the signal will be noticed by French voters."

Trump, for his part, dodged an opportunity to come out one way or another during a press conference Thursday. "A strong Europe is very, very important to me," Trump said. "We want to see it. We will help it be strong, and it's very much to everybody's advantage." Jeva Lange

January 30, 2017
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On Sunday, Benoit Hamon easily won the presidential primary runoff to represent France's ruling Socialist Party in upcoming elections, beating more centrist former Prime Minister Manuel Valls 58 percent to 41 percent. Hamon, a former education minister, was the most left-leaning of the seven candidates in last week's first round, and he surged to frontrunner status by promising to champion a universal income for all French citizens, legalize marijuana, scrap a labor law pushed through by President Francois Hollande, and bring other political change. The Los Angeles Times calls Hamon "a Gallic Bernie Sanders," though he is only 49 and an actual socialist.

Hollande's deep unpopularity is expected to hurt the Socialists in the spring election, against center-right Republican Francois Fillon, far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, and independent former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. Hamon urged other leftist parties to unite behind him. Peter Weber

November 28, 2016
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In Sunday's runoff election to determine the conservative candidate who will stand in France's upcoming presidential election, hard-line conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillon handily beat the more moderate Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé, also a former prime minister. Fillon had been expected to win France's Republican nomination after getting nearly half the votes in last week's first round, which knocked out former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Juppé conceded defeat Sunday night, congratulating Fillon on his "wide victory" and promised to support him in the April-May general election. With almost all votes counted, Fillon was leading, 66.5 percent to 33.5 percent.

Fillon, who served as prime minister under Sarkozy, has proposed ending France's 35-hour work week, raising its retirement age, cutting 500,000 public-sector jobs, eliminating the wealth tax, and improving ties with Russia. On Sunday night he said that if French voters pick him, he "will take up an unusual challenge" for France: "To tell the truth and completely change its software." Fillon, 62, will likely face far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, centrist independent Emmanuel Macron, and the nominee of the Socialist party. President Francois Hollande, who is highly unpopular, is expected to announce whether he will seek another term within the next few days. Peter Weber