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LISTEN: The Local’s French election podcast

As France prepares for a battle over its political soul - and maybe also the future of Europe - The Local is launching a special election podcast featuring our expert columnist John Lichfield. You can listen to the pilot episode here.

LISTEN: The Local's French election podcast
The Local's French election podcast Talking France. Image: The Local

This episode gives you a taster of what we’ll be covering when Talking France becomes a weekly feature from March 8th.

You can listen to it here (scroll down) or on Spotify or Apple – search The Local’s French election podcast.

We’ll aim to explain the upcoming French presidential election for a non-French audience – how the political system works, who the candidates are and what they stand for, the hot-button issues in France and of course the crucial question; who will win?

We’ll speak to experts including John Lichfield who explains in our pilot episode exactly why this election matters so much.


“In a sense it’s an election not only about the future of France but the future of Europe – you cannot imagine the European Union surviving if either of the far right candidates Marine Le Pen or Eric Zemmour were elected,” he says.

In the episode we also take a look at why France has a two-round voting system and why some Parisians would vote for Trotskyist candidates in the first round but then centrist candidates in the second.

We also look at the tradition of the front républicain in French elections and ask John whether it will hold up in 2022.

Listen below:


You can also find it on Spotify here Apple here or by searching The Local’s French Election’s Podcast.

We hope this pilot episode gives you a taster of what’s to come. Please give us your feedback in the comments section below and let us know what you would like to hear in forthcoming episodes.

We’ll be back from Tuesday, March 8th with a weekly episode of Talking France, right through until the week after the election’s second round on April 24th.  

We’ll also be answering questions from listeners on any aspects of France, its politics and elections, so if you have something you have always wanted to know or a question you’d like to put to John then email us on [email protected] 

You can also keep up with all the election latest in our 2022 Presidential election section HERE.

Member comments

  1. I am surprised that there was no mention of Valéry Pecresse. It seems possible that she makes the second round ahead of Le Pen!

    1. We’re planning a more detailed rundown on all the main candidates in our first proper episode on March 8th, Pécresse will definitely be included

  2. Thank you for the excellent discussion on the candidates. French politics seem so much more interesting than American politics what with both Animalist and Trotskyist candidates among others. I’m looking forward to your upcoming podcasts.

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Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.