While most people here are caught up in either the Alberta provincial election or the upcoming Ontario election (if God hates us, anyways), the nation which spawned much of our liberal democratic idealism has been devolving into an absolute mess as its presidential election rolls along, a tumbling pile of right-vs.-left that could see four for six possible contenders for the presidency, depending on whether or not they can make it to a run-off that will almost certainly happen, since there isn't any way in hell someone will get 50% outright given that the leader is currently sitting at 28%.
I am, of course, talking about France.
While personally I find British and German elections more fascinating than French ones, this presidential campaign is a bundle of joy for someone like me, who somewhat enjoys political chaos. And it is a mess, though at the very least, you can claim more-or-less two frontrunners, Gaullist incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, and Socialist challenger François Hollande. Sitting right behind them is the near-fascist Marine Le Pen and near-Marxist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and business liberal François Bayrou behind them.
You can sort of guess what comes out of this situation. Both Sarkozy and Hollande, who are increasingly threatened on their ideological flanks, have shifted their positions from "reasonable" (both could be considered moderates) to outright nutty.
For Sarkozy, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, he's had to go about attacking immigrants and immigration, promising cuts to entry visas and tougher measures to combat crime, which in France is fairly tilted towards immigrants, sad as that is. All this to try and ensure Marine Le Pen doesn't siphon off enough votes so that Sarkozy and his Gaullist UMP party doesn't end up third, and out of any runoff.
For Hollande, it means musing about a 75% tax rate on those making more than a million euros per year. Yes, yes it is insane - not as insane as Mélenchon's 100% tax rate for those making over €360,000!!! Hollande is less likely to fall behind Mélenchon, but he's still a danger anyways.
And folks, this is just a preview of whats going on over there. I suggest you take a look at this gentleman's site, a very well done blog on world elections, and he has a special focus on French and European politics. He's from the Ottawa area too.
Who would I vote for, you ask? (Yeah I know you didn't but deal with it.)
Personally, as much as I can understand the issues (and the language where translation isn't available/worthless), Bayrou would likely be my first round choice. A solid business platform and one that, while not perfect, actually addressed France's fiscal problems. The man should be President, for God's sake.
And frankly, I'm unsure whether I'd vote for Hollande in a second round vote; yes, he's likely just pulling a Mitt Romney ideological shift, but it's still pretty scary stuff. But Sarkozy is a buffoon. Fuck it, I'll just abstain.
But hey, here's a better question: who would Mulcair vote for? Can we tie him to the Socialists? Oh yes, please, please let's tie him to the 75% tax bracket!