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TALKING FRANCE

PODCAST: Has Putin won the election for Macron and how high will French prices go?

The French presidential elections are now fully underway, so join The Local France's team and our guest experts including John Lichfield as we assess the impact of the war in Ukraine on life in France and French politics, introduce the candidates and complain about the price of a baguette.

PODCAST: Has Putin won the election for Macron and how high will French prices go?
Image: The Local

This week on Talking France, host Ben McPartland is joined by editor Emma Pearson, our political columnist John Lichfield and Sorbonne economics professor Claudia Senik as we look at the first week of official campaigning in the 2022 French presidential election.

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Click HERE to listen to Talking France on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify. 

By now you would normally expect the French newspapers, TV and radio to have wall-to-wall political coverage. Instead, of course, this has been overshadowed by the terrible events in Ukraine.

But the international turmoil is also having a direct effect on French politics.

John Lichfield tells us: “I was already of the persuasion that Macron will win, but now who else can you imagine the French electing? Zemmour or Le Pen who have a long history of supporting Putin? Mélenchon who blames Nato for everything? Pécresse who is sinking in the polls?

“I think the election is in effect over, but that in itself can cause problems. It could mean in the end that Macron’s victory is a hollow one.”

Another effect on daily life in France – and the rest of Europe – is likely to be a big jump in the cost of living, so could this cost Macron votes?

Claudia Senik thinks not, saying: “I think Macron’s recent speech was telling us that there is a price for our values – freedom, peace democracy – and the price is that the economy will suffer.”

And we’re also giving a full run-through of all the candidates – including the one who had to pulp all their election leaflets, the one who ‘forgets’ to pay for their groceries and the one who makes Ben think of The Fonz.

We will be releasing new episodes of this podcast every Tuesday. Click HERE to listen to Talking France on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify. 

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POLITICS

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.

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