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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election

Each weekday, our early morning roundup 'Today in France' takes a look at the latest news, events and gossip from the campaign trail - here's what is happening on Wednesday.

Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election
Prime minister Jean Castex is unveiling his cost-of-living plan today. Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP

The man with the plan

Prime Minister Jean Castex is scheduled to unveil his price-hike plan at 4pm. Le plan de résilience économique et sociale (economic and social resilience plan) is in response to the spiralling cost of items including gas, petrol and food sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and consequent sanctions.

Some effects are being felt already – petrol and diesel is now more than €2 a litre in most of France – and more are expected to follow in the weeks to come as the war affects food supplies around Europe.

Castex’s plan, developed at the request of Emmanuel Macron, is aimed to protect French consumers, businesses and farmers from the worst of the economic effects.

Island hopping

Interior minister Gérard Darmanin is off to Corsica today, with instructions to calm the rioting that has gripped the island for over a week now, sparked by the assault in prison of Corsican independence fighter (and convicted murderer) Yvan Colonna.

Denunciation of Russian Ambassador

We hope the Russian Ambassador to France isn’t holding out any hope of staying friends with French MPs – Christophe Castaner, the leader of Macron’s party LREM in the French parliament, has released a blistering letter that he sent to the Embassy, saying: “You are taking another step towards ignominy.”

After the widely-documented bombing of a maternity hospital in Marioupol, Ukraine, the Russian Embassy reportedly send a “press kit” to all French MPs, claiming that the attack was a staged event.

“To target a maternity hospital is to target civilians,” Castaner wrote, denouncing an “abominable” attack and accusing the ambassador of “denying the suffering and death caused by the action of your own army”.

Enfin

The most used word in the French press to describe Macron’s manifesto launch tomorrow is enfin (finally).

Macron is being increasingly criticised by his opponents and the media for not campaigning ‘properly’ for the elections. Some are going further and suggesting that he will lack ‘legitimacy’ if he is voted back in an election that appears to be a foregone conclusion.

This is obviously nonsense – these are full and fair democratic elections and all the other candidates have ample opportunity to try and impress the electorate – but it seems that this may become a theme of French politics.

Podcast

The next episode of The Local’s podcast Talking France is here. In this episode, The Local team plus political commentator John Lichfield and political analyst Jean-Yves Camus discuss the steady rise of the far right, the geographical divide in voting and the Constitutional rules on elections.

 

Macron hoodie

You will recall that we shared in yesterday’s briefing a photo of Emmanuel Macron looking slightly less dapper than usual in jeans and a hoodie.

Well, bizarre as it may seem, that photo made headlines around the globe. We took a look at why ‘man who normally wears a suit is photographed in a hoodie’ sparked such interest.

Candidates trips

Valérie Pécresse and Eric Zemmour will be outlining their policies for small businesses at the PME federation today while Nathalie Arthaud is on a trip to Marseille.

And today is the birthday of government spokesman Gabriel Attal, bon anniversaire Gabriel.

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POLICE

France proposes getting rid of penalties for ‘minor’ speeding offences

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

France’s Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations – proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.

“The fine of course remains,” said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation “40 Millions d’Automobilistes,” thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a “first step.”

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France’s Interior Ministry is also promising to become “firmer” with regards to people who use other people’s licences in order to get out of losing points – say by sending their spouse’s or grandmother’s instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.

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