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Egypt: MILITARY COUP D’ETAT IN EGYPT–7 Immediate Consequences

July 3, 2013 1 comment

The Egyptian military has just conducted a coup d’état, thus forcing out Mohammed Al-Morsi from power. It’s useful to remind the readers that Morsi was legitimately elected in a free and fair election a year ago.

There are no justifications for this military coup, or for any military coup, or for any intervention of the military in civilian democratic governance. None whatsoever. Those who claim that Morsi mismanaged the economy (which could be a valid claim, though he found when he took over the Egyptian economy was already in the tank) or overstepped his power, or was tone deaf to the demands of the opposition do not advance solid justifications for the intervention of the military and the coup. Moreover, all these grievances are normal political grievances found in any democracy and could have been resolved and dealt with through normal democratic and legal means and mechanisms that all democracies–including the Egyptian one–provide.

Moreover, those who argue that this is not a coup d’état, but an civilian inspired intervention of the military in politics to stop Egypt from descending into anarchy and chaos cannot change the fact that Egypt’s military transferred power illegally from a legitimately elected official and placed it in the hands of an unelected and illegitimate official. This is the definition of a coup d’état. And there is no further debate about that aspect of the event.

Having said that, what are the immediate consequences of this military coup d’état in Egypt & in the Arab/Muslim world?

1-High likelihood of a civil strife and civil war

Civil unrest, and a probable civil war, is very likely and sadly almost unavoidable. The supporters of Morsi will probably protest this coup. They will organize sit-ins in parks, streets, avenues and even  mosques. The military will somehow look away for a couple of months, but sooner or later will intervene forcibly to disperse  the protesters, and that would be the spark which would ignite the first round of violence, which, sadly, wouldn’t the last one. Even if the leaders of the MB have announced that they are against and do not support violence and have denounced it repeatedly, violence is more than likely to occur. In this case, who do we blame? The military or the radical wings of the Islamist movement? It’s clear to me that the blame should go first and foremost to those who organized this coup and stole the legitimate and democratic victory of the MB. After that, the blame game starts again, and we will soon not know who did what, why, and when. Sadly, this has always been the hallmark of the cycle of violence in almost all civil wars and civil strife. But as of now, the aggrieved are the member of the MB, and the aggressors are the military. This much is clear.

2-Victory of the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and defeat of the moderate one

For decades, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood has been engaged in a serious and tough internal debate to convince its rank and file that democracy is a valid and a legitimate means to arrive to power and do politics. During those years, there were divisions within the movement, the radicals were forced out, outnumbered and muted, and serious fights, fatwas and religious edits were issued to justify democracy, and undermine all alternative means that were so popular in the movement back in the 1960s and 70s. Those who won that debate are the biggest losers today since this coup will provide cover, support, and justification for the rhetoric of the radicals. So, we will probably see the revival of the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood which has never believed that Arab/Muslim autocrats would allow an Islamist Party to win elections and exercise power.

3-U.S. will be fairly or unfairly blamed for the coup d’état

The U.S and Israel will be directly or indirectly, fairly or unfairly, blamed for this coup. Even if the U.S did not have any involvement in the coup, the fact that it did not put sufficient pressures on the Egyptian military (with whom it has great relations) will be held against it. Already all over social media networks and Internet forums pictures of a collage of Mossadegh, Salvador Allende and Morsi are floating intimating that this was a coup designed in the West (you add to that Israel) and carried out by “their stooges”, the Egyptian military.

4-Good days ahead for Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda has just gotten a fresh batch of new recruits, slogans, narrative, and material. All that material will point an accusatory finger toward the U.S and accuse the U.S (and by extension Israel) for its hypocrisy–i.e., the U.S loves democracy only when it doesn’t involve Islamist Parties–and for being anti-Islam. The “I told you so” will be the new recruiting slogan for Al-Qaeda. Members of Al-Qaeda as well as its ideology never believed and/or supported democracy and have always undermined moderate and not so moderate Islamist political parties. Probably, the biggest blow to the Al-Qaeda as an ideology was the Arab Spring and the electoral victories of moderate Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt. However, Al-Qaeda’s biggest victory so far was handed to it by the Egyptian military today. I have no doubt that Al-Zawahiri is celebrating and dancing in his cave right now.

5-Delegitimization of future Islamist Parties in Egypt post Morsi’s MB

All Islamist Parties that choose to take part in future elections in Egypt will have no credibility, just like all Islamist Parties in Algeria now have lost all popular credibility and legitimacy. The loss of credibility will result from 2 sources: 1) the alleged mismanagement of the economy during Morsi’s first year in office (though it is extremely unfair to blame him for the economic situation since he inherited a collapsing economy); and 2) if the MB engages in violence, and clearly calls for a violent uprising against the military or loses control over its base. This will be held against the MB and will harm its political and social brand, and might even lead to its ban.

6-Delegitimization of democracy as a valid means of governance in Egypt

This is a deadly blow to democracy in Egypt. I am afraid that it might even be a complete delegitimization of the democratic process. Regardless of all the spin that we are listening to right now and is coming from Egypt notwithstanding, democracy has died tonight in Egypt. The consequences of that is the rise of an electoral authoritarian system with a democratic veneer, but with deep layers of authoritarian rules.  The freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, freedom of association and speech are, as of now, something of the past.

7-Chilling effect on new democracies in the Arab World and Sub-Saharan Africa

This coup will have a chilling effect on all new and fledgling democratization processes in Tunisia and Libya (there is also another effect that i will develop in future posts). The military in those countries (and in Sub-Saharan democracies as well) will feel emboldened by the Egyptian example. They will feel that they can intervene at any time in the political process to shape politics in the manner they see fit. Effectively, the military has become in the Arab World a very powerful veto player in civilian democratic governance. This is the death of democracy as we know it, and the rise of electoral authoritarianism, which will last a generation or two.

Video of president Morsi’s last speech moment before he was placed under house arrest

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Union Européenne: La crise de la démocratie européenne

May 23, 2012 1 comment

This is an Op-Ed written by Dr. Amartya Sen for the NYTimes.  Dr. Sen is  Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until 2004 the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is also Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Earlier on, he was Professor of Economics at Jadavpur University Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, and the London School of Economics, and Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University. To top this already impressive resume, Dr. Sen Nobel was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in economic sciences for his work on welfare economics and social choice theory. Briefly stated, Dr. Sen is an authority in the field.

The Crisis of European Democracy

By AMARTYA SEN

May 22, 2012Cambridge, Mass.

IF proof were needed of the maxim that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the economic crisis in Europe provides it. The worthy but narrow intentions of the European Union’s policy makers have been inadequate for a sound European economy and have produced instead a world of misery, chaos and confusion.

There are two reasons for this.

First, intentions can be respectable without being clearheaded, and the foundations of the current austerity policy, combined with the rigidities of Europe’s monetary union (in the absence of fiscal union), have hardly been a model of cogency and sagacity. Second, an intention that is fine on its own can conflict with a more urgent priority — in this case, the preservation of a democratic Europe that is concerned about societal well-being. These are values for which Europe has fought, over many decades.

Certainly, some European countries have long needed better economic accountability and more responsible economic management. However, timing is crucial; reform on a well-thought-out timetable must be distinguished from reform done in extreme haste. Greece, for all of its accountability problems, was not in an economic crisis before the global recession in 2008. (In fact, its economy grew by 4.6 percent in 2006 and 3 percent in 2007 before beginning its continuing shrinkage.)

The cause of reform, no matter how urgent, is not well served by the unilateral imposition of sudden and savage cuts in public services. Such indiscriminate cutting slashes demand — a counterproductive strategy, given huge unemployment and idle productive enterprises that have been decimated by the lack of market demand. In Greece, one of the countries left behind by productivity increases elsewhere, economic stimulation through monetary policy (currency devaluation) has been precluded by the existence of the European monetary union, while the fiscal package demanded by the Continent’s leaders is severely anti-growth. Economic output in the euro zone continued to decline in the fourth quarter of last year, and the outlook has been so grim that a recent report finding zero growth in the first quarter of this year was widely greeted as good news.

There is, in fact, plenty of historical evidence that the most effective way to cut deficits is to combine deficit reduction with rapid economic growth, which generates more revenue. The huge deficits after World War II largely disappeared with fast economic growth, and something similar happened during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The much praised reduction of the Swedish budget deficit from 1994 to 1998 occurred alongside fairly rapid growth. In contrast, European countries today are being asked to cut their deficits while remaining trapped in zero or negative economic growth.

There are surely lessons here from John Maynard Keynes, who understood that the state and the market are interdependent. But Keynes had little to say about social justice, including the political commitments with which Europe emerged after World War II. These led to the birth of the modern welfare state and national health services — not to support a market economy but to protect human well-being.

Though these social issues did not engage Keynes deeply, there is an old tradition in economics of combining efficient markets with the provision of public services that the market may not be able to deliver. As Adam Smith (often seen simplistically as the first guru of free-market economics) wrote in “The Wealth of Nations,” there are “two distinct objects” of an economy: “first, to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or, more properly, to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and secondly, to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services.”

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Europe’s current malaise is the replacement of democratic commitments by financial dictates — from leaders of the European Union and the European Central Bank, and indirectly from credit-rating agencies, whose judgments have been notoriously unsound.

Participatory public discussion — the “government by discussion” expounded by democratic theorists like John Stuart Mill and Walter Bagehot — could have identified appropriate reforms over a reasonable span of time, without threatening the foundations of Europe’s system of social justice. In contrast, drastic cuts in public services with very little general discussion of their necessity, efficacy or balance have been revolting to a large section of the European population and have played into the hands of extremists on both ends of the political spectrum.

Europe cannot revive itself without addressing two areas of political legitimacy. First, Europe cannot hand itself over to the unilateral views — or good intentions — of experts without public reasoning and informed consent of its citizens. Given the transparent disdain for the public, it is no surprise that in election after election the public has shown its dissatisfaction by voting out incumbents.

Second, both democracy and the chance of creating good policy are undermined when ineffective and blatantly unjust policies are dictated by leaders. The obvious failure of the austerity mandates imposed so far has undermined not only public participation — a value in itself — but also the possibility of arriving at a sensible, and sensibly timed, solution.

This is a surely a far cry from the “united democratic Europe” that the pioneers of European unity sought.

Union Européenne: Non, l’euro ne survivra pas la sortie de la Grèce

May 19, 2012 8 comments

No Mr. Wolfgang Schäuble, the euro won’t survive Greece’s exit


The German minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, stated in an interview with the “Rheinische Post on 11 May 2012 that Europe has the capacities to cope with a Greek euro area exit. He went on to say that Germany and its partners have learned a lot during the last two years and have put in place several protection mechanisms. Basically, this is a strong signal from one of the highest German officials stating that the euro can survive without Greece.  Let me say this upfront: No, the euro—and probably the whole European Union project–cannot survive Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. Schäuble’s statement could have been correct if it was given 2 years ago. But now, his statement is tantamount to a Eurozone suicide. And this is why.

However, before we get to why Greece’s exit from the Eurozone would lead to the total collapse of the euro as a currency and probably to the collapse of the European Union as an ambitious yet salutary political project, we need to briefly remember how we got to this point.

The project of the European Union started or was imagined as a purely political project by its founding fathers.  On the ruins of the disastrous and destructive second World War, Robert Shumann, Jean Monet, Alcide De Gasperi, Paul Henri Spaak and Konrad Adenauer (two Frenchmen, an Italian, a Belgium, and a German respectively) began imagining a political project that would knit together the different European countries and make the prospect of another destructive war between European countries an impossible endeavor. Of course, this started with a closer economic cooperation limited to a certain number of goods and services and just between a small numbers of countries, which would later on represent the core countries of the European Union. This limited economic cooperation created a spillover effect, and over time, more goods and services were included and more countries wished to join. Long story short, this economic cooperation spilled over into a political cooperation and led to the necessity of creating a common currency—i.e., the euro.

After the Maastricht Treaty (also know as the Treaty on the European Union) was adopted and ratified by most of the countries, the euro was introduced.  It was first introduced to the financial markets as an accounting currency in 1999 (it replaced the old ECU) and then introduced in circulation in 17 of the 27 EU member states replacing their national currencies in 2002.  The introduction of the euro caused a certain euphoria in the financial markets. Suddenly, countries that were deemed risky for investment saw a drastic influx of cheap capital—i.e., loans. Basically, cheap money started pouring in southern European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, and even in Ireland and Austria. Belonging to the Eurozone made these countries safe places, though some of them had deep structural flaws (as we came to discover that later on). This influx of cheap capital financed huge housing boom-like bubbles and increased trade deficits.  And then, the 2007-2008 financial crisis hit. It started in the U.S., but soon migrated to the European continent. The influx of cheap money dried up. This caused severe economic slowdowns and downturns in almost all of the Eurozone.

Since the European Union is an unfinished economic integration project topped by an even more unfinished political integration, countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy were literally up the creek without a paddle.  The economic crisis of 2008 led to a huge fiscal crisis in these countries since they had no control over their monetary policies, and they were obliged to keep their budgetary spending within the 3% allowed by the EU agreements.  However, in a time of severe economic crisis, one needs to engage in fiscal deficit spending in order to get out of the hole. The last thing a country needs is drastic cut in public spending. Why? Because drastic cuts in public spending lowers consumption, which lowers demand, which leads to less investments, which leads to less revenues.  And the more austerity measure a given country adopts, the more it reinforces this infernal downward spiral. But what did the EU leaders do? They did exactly what they should not have done.

Germany and France (Sarkozy’s France) forced most of the EU members to engage in drastic public spending cuts hoping that fiscal discipline would calm financial markets and stop speculations. However, these EU leaders misread completely the message that most financial markets have been sending. They were not looking for strict fiscal discipline, though some discipline doesn’t hurt. They were looking for serious economic growth prospects.  Since spending cuts depress economic growth (just look at the economic growth in the Eurozone countries in the last 2 years and you notice that cuts caused economic stagnation and recession in France, Spain, the UK, Italy, Greece, and so forth), investors and bond markets lost confidence in the Eurozone, and that led to higher interest rates on short term borrowing. Not only are these countries killing their economic growth with all those drastic cuts, but also they can’t even find cheap capital to fund short-term operations. Consequence: 3 European countries—Greece, Spain, and Italy—are on the verge of total economic collapse and serious political turmoil.

So, what if we let Greece out of the Eurozone like Wolfgang Schäuble wants? What would happen to the rest of the Eurozone?

Let us game this scenario for a second.

As we speak, Greece is under a slow-moving financial blitzkrieg.  There is a slow moving bank-run on the Greek banks (or what the bankers call a bank-jog). What does that mean? It means that depositors are pulling out their capital to anticipate a possible Greek default or an exit from the Eurozone.  This bank-jog has been going on at a very low rate for the last 2 or 3 months, but it has accelerated since the last legislative elections.  However, the ECB is backstopping, or for the lack of a better word, financing this bank-jog through lending to Greek banks the necessary capital. More accurately, the Greek banks are using the emergency liquidity assistance until the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) agrees to release its bonds, so they can use them as collateral.

However, when the ECB decides to stop financing Greek banks (and that’s what the German minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, means), Greece would effectively be forced to leave the Eurozone and abandon the euro as a currency, and revert to issuing again its own national currency, the drachma.

The first fallout of such a move is that financial markets would lose total confidence in every Eurozone countries. Greece leaving the Eurozone means that the euro is reversible, and any country could decide to abandon it.  Do you remember that bank-jog we just talked about in the previous paragraph? Well, that bank-job would turn into a bank-run on Spanish, Italian, Irish, and possibly French banks. All investors and all financial markets would pull out all of their money at once. Ladies and gentlemen, no bank in the world and in the history of banking has had enough cash or securities in its vaults to face a cataclysmic event like this one. This means that most banks in Spain and Italy would collapse overnight.  A large numbers of banks in France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and Belgium would also collapse. This would trigger a worldwide chain reaction and some U.S, Japanese, and Russian banks exposed to Eurozone debts would also be severally affected.

What we would be looking at is a total blow-up of the European Union and a severe global depression.

This is what it means to let Greece leave the Eurozone now. On top of the financial and economic global calamity, we would also have a political one. The rise of extreme right and left political parties in Europe and elsewhere would surely be the most likely political outcome. Mainstream parties would be blamed for the catastrophe and would be completely discredited in the eyes of most voters, which would directly benefit the extreme right and extreme left political leaders.

What to do then to avoid such a calamity? Not only must Greece stay in the Eurozone, but also a more encompassing political economy must be devised. First, the mutualization of the debt must be organized. Second, the ECB must be restructured to issue euro-bonds so member states can directly borrow from the ECB at low rate instead of borrowing from banks. Third, a serious economic growth agenda must be considered so countries like Spain, Italy and others could trigger decent economic growth rates and emerge from the infernal cycle of austerity and depression.

Finally, the ECB must increase the Eurozone inflation rate to at least 4%. Why?  In a recession, you expect average wages to adjust to a lower level. As the unemployment rate increases, workers are willing to accept lower wages, and as wages decrease, employers become more willing to hire more workers. If this does not occur, the recessionary cycle deepens and becomes persistent.  There are several ways to fix this problem, but let us concentrate on the one most suited for the Eurozone. One of the problems in Spain, Italy, Greece and most of Europe is that their workers have become increasingly uncompetitive over the past decade—higher wages, high unemployment rates, and low investments leading to a highly uncompetitive Eurozone worker. One way to correct this is by devaluing the currency, which would effectively reduce wages in a country compared to the rest of Europe. But this solution is not available to most Eurozone member states because they do not have control over their monetary policies. The Eurozone monetary policy is dictated by the ECB.  So how do you reduce wages in those countries when you can’t manipulate your currency? Well keep wages constant, but allow a higher inflation rate. If the ECB allows the inflation rate to run at a 4% level, you effectively get no wage increase, but an effective drop by 4%. This would increase the competitive edge of the European worker.

This is the only way out. But to reach these set of solutions, the ECB and the Germans need to get over their obsession about spending, inflation, price stability, and moral hazard. If Angela Merkel keeps on doing what she has been doing and keeps on bullying the rest of the Eurozone member states into these suicidal austerity programs, she would literally cause the collapse of the European Union. Lastly, the ECB needs to embrace its function as an independent central bank facing drastic economic crisis with a possible political and economic collapse of the whole area. The ECB needs to get over its rigid ideology of price stability and face  reality. Otherwise, there will not be an ECB in a couple of years.

France: Live–Presidentielles–François HOLLANDE ELU PRESIDENT

May 6, 2012 29 comments

FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE


FRANCOIS HOLLANDE EST ELU PRESIDENT

 

Ambiance à Tulle à l’annonce des résultats

Rue Solférino: LA LIESSE

More detailed results: Paris

  • François Hollande l’emporte dans le 2e (57,6%), le 3e (61,35%), le 4e (54,96%), le 5e (56,22%), le 9e (54,19%), le 10e (69,39%), le 11e (67,76%), le 13e (65,27%), le 14e (60,26%), le 18e (70,31%), le 19e (67,64%) et le 20e arrondissement (71,83%).
  • Nicolas Sarkozy arrive en tête dans le 1er (52,17%), le 6e (57,66%), le 7e (71,76%), le 8e (72,47%), le 15e (54,50%), le 16e (78,01%) et le 17e arrondissement (58,22%).

More detailed results:

  • A Sablé (Sarthe), la ville de François Fillon, Nicolas Sarkozy recueille 52,89% des voix, contre 57,16% en 2007.
  • A Saint-Quentin (Aisne), ville dont Xavier Bertrand est maire, François Hollande (54,18%) devance largement Nicolas Sarkozy (45,82%).
  • A Troyes (Aube), où François Baroin est maire, Nicolas Sarkozy (50,39%) compte seulement 171 voix d’avance sur François Hollande.
  • A Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle), fief de Nadine Morano, où Nicolas Sarkozy était arrivé en tête il y a cinq ans, François Hollande (55%) compte dix points d’avance sur le président sortant.
  •  Au Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire), ville dont Laurent Wauquiez est maire, François Hollande (55,89%) arrive très nettement devant Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • A Chaumont (Haute-Marne), ville de Luc Chatel, François Hollande arrive également en tête avec 51,85% des voix.

UPDATE 26: (RTS) Comme l’annonçaient tous les sondages, François Hollande deviendra bien le nouveau président de la République française à l’issue du deuxième tour du scrutin présidentiel ce dimanche. Il a remporté, selon les premières estimations (pas encore définitives), entre 52,5% et 53,3% des voix contre 46,7% à 47,5% pour son adversaire, Nicolas Sarkozy, le président sortant qui devrait donc quitter donc l’Elysée le 15 mai prochain.

UPDATE 25: EXPLOSION DE JOIE RUE SOLFERINO

UPDATE 24: 19H09– AGENCE FRANCE PRESS  (AFP): FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE ÉLU PRESIDENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE


UPDATE 23: (LE MATIN) NOUVEAUX CHIFFRES CONFIRMANT, VOIRE AFFINANT LA VICTOIRE DE LA GAUCHE: ENTRE 52,7 ET 53,3% DES VOIX POUR VOIX POUR FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE, SELON LH2 (LOUIS HARRIS), 53,3% POUR INTERACTIVE, 52% SELON CSA.

UPDATE 22: 19:01 (RTBF) LE JOURNALISTE DE LA RTBF DECLARE, “C’EST PLIE, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE LE PROCHAIN PRESIDENT DE LA FRANCE”

UPDATE 21: 18h55 (RTBF) : FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE AURAIT GAGNÉ LES ÉLECTIONS PRÉSIDENTIELLES. La fourchette reste a déterminer quand même


UPDATE 20: 18h51: La foule crie victoire rue de Solférino, le siège de PS, alors que l’ambiance est plus tendue à la Mutualité, où Nicolas Sarkozy doit s’exprimer.

UPDATE 19: 18H49: RTBF CALLED THE ELECTION FOR FRANCOIS HOLLANDE. THE ONLY THING THAT STILL TO BE DETERMINED IS THE EXTENT OF THE VICTORY.

UPDATE 18: 18H47: Pierre Moscovici, directeur de campagne de François Hollande: «On ressent de l’émotion, on attend».

UPDATE 17: 18h37: Selon le journal Suisse, Le Matin, “La victoire de François Hollande se confirme”

UPDATE 16: 18h01: selon l’entourage de François Hollande, le socialiste s’envolera de Brives à destination de Paris à bord d’un avion privé aux alentours de 22h, quel que soit le résultat.

UPDATE 15: 18h00: des proches de Nicolas Sarkozy arrivent à l’Elysée: sa porte-parole Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet et son conseiller spécial Henri Guaino.

UPDATE 14: 18h00–LES TENDANCES DES 3 INSTITUTS DONNENT TOUJOURS FRANCOIS HOLLANDE EN TETE AVEC 52% ET 53%.

UPDATE 13: 17h00 (selon RTS et RTFB)  SONDAGES DES SORTIES DES BUREAUX DE VOTE SELONG LES 3 GRANDS INSTITUTS DE SONDAGE.

HARRIS: FRANCOIS HOLLANDE 53%, NICOLAS SARKOZY 47%

IFOP: FRANCOIS HOLLANDE 52.5%, NICOLAS SARKOZY 47.5%

SOFRES: FRANCOIS HOLLANDE 53%, NICOLAS SARKOZY 47%

UPDATE 12: Selon le Ministere de l’Interieur, le taux de participation a 17h00 etait de 71.96%

A bit of humor to relax the tension of this electoral night

En directe de la frontiere Franco-Suisse 🙂

UPDATE 11: On commence à s’affairer devant le siège du Parti socialiste, rue de Solférino à Paris. 

 

UPDATE 10: 16h52 (Tweets des correspondants de la RTS) Des militants commencent à arriver à la Bastille, où François Hollande avait prévu de faire la fête en cas de victoire. Des écrans géants commencent à être installés

UPDATE 9: (source: Le Monde, RTBF, RTS) François Hollande, s’il est élu président, devrait avoir dans la soirée un échange avec la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel, a indiqué un de ses plus proches ami, Jean-Marc Ayrault, le maire de Nantes (ouest).

UPDATE 8: a 16h30 (source RTS) On commence à s’affairer devant le siège du Parti socialiste, rue de Solférino à Paris, comme le montre ce cliché de France Télévisions:

UPDATE 7: a 16h10 (source RTS) Nicolas Sarkozy se trouve à son bureau de l’Elysée, où il doit attendre les résultats du scrutin en compagnie de ses conseillers.

UPDATE 6: RESULTATS DES AMERIQUES (SOURCES: RTBF, RTSINFO)

Voici un premier apercu des résultats partiels des Amériques. La participation a augmentè en moyenne de 3 a 4% par rapport au 1er tour. En règle générale, François Hollande fait le plein des voix de gauche et gagne environ le tiers des voix de François Bayrou.

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE gagne à Montreal (près de 57,74%), à Toronto (51% – la gauche n’y avait jamais triomphe), au Pérou (55%), en Argentine (51,7%), en Colombie (58,82%) et au Honduras (56%). Il comble l’ecart avec la droite au Mexique (47,3%), au Bresil (47% – ou il gagne à Rio, Brasilia et Recife), au Costa Rica (44,1%) et au Chili (44%).

UPDATE 5: (SOURCES: RTBF, RTSINFO) Selon les premières tendances et les sondages de sortie des urnes de 3 grand instituts de sondages, François Hollande serait en tête

UPDATE 4: (SOURCES: RTBF, RTSINFO) RESULTATS DES DEPARTEMENTS D’OUTRE-MER

Nous avons les premiers résultats pour le second tour de la présidentielle française en provenance des départements d’Outre-mer.

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon: François Hollande 65%,  Nicolas Sarkozy 35% ;

Martinique: Francois Hollande 68,5%, pour Nicolas Sarkozy 35.1%

Guadeloupe: François Hollande 72%

Guyane: Francois Hollande 62%

Saint-Martin:  François Hollande avec 51,5 %, tandis que Nicolas Sarkozy ne serait en tête que dans la petite île de Saint-Barthélémy, avec près de 83% des voix exprimées.

UPDATE 3: INFORMATION RTBF–Trois grands instituts de sondages annoncent donc le candidat socialiste François Hollande en tête avec entre 52,5 et 53% des voix. Cela dit ces résutats ne portent que sur les votes du matin (jusqu’à 11h) et il faut encore tenir de la traditionnelle marge d’erreur. Ces résultats sont donc encore à prendre avec précautions à ce stade.

UPDATE 2: RTSINFO– Selon des sondages effectués à la sortie d’une série de bureaux de vote, deux instituts donnent actuellement François Hollande vainqueur de l’élection présidentielle française avec une majorité de 52,5 à 53% des voix.

UPDATE 1: Le taux de participation était, dimanche à midi, de 30,66% en métropole, selon le ministère de l’Intérieur. Ce taux est en baisse par rapport à celui enregistré à la même heure en 2007 (34,11%, marqué il est vrai par une forte mobilisation). Au premier tour le 22 avril dernier, ce taux avait atteint les 28,29% à midi.

We welcome our readers from all over the world. I see that you are already hit the “refresh button” hard and i think there will be thousands of you from France, Europe, and Africa. I promise you that we will be starting our live coverage of the first estimations and exit polls now. Buckle up, this is going to be a “close” right. Let’s Go!

France: Les résultats du deuxième tour dès 18h30 heure françaises et 12h30 heure EST

Comme nous l’avons fait pour le premier tour, Nous allons aussi publier les résultats du premier du deuxième tour des élections présidentielles françaises le 6 Mai à 18:30 heure françaises et 12:30 heure Americaine.

Dès que les résultats (ou résultats partiels) seront disponibles, nous les publierons et les posterons sur ce blog.

Alors restez à l’écoute et venez sur le blog le 6 Mai autour de 18h30 pour avoir les deuxième résultats du tour avant tout le monde.

We did it for the first round, and we were successful in getting the results and publishing there before almost everyone. Well, we are doing it again for the second around. We will be publishing the results of the second round of the French presidential elections at 18:30 or as soon as we have them.  We are not bound by the French law banning the publication of partial results before 20:00, and therefore there is no justification for us to hold on to the results until 20:00 (or 14:00 EST).

So as soon as we have partial results (and we expect to have them at 18:30 French time and 12:30 EST), we will post them right the way on this blog.

So, stay tuned and check our blog on Mai 6 at 18:30 (if you live in France) and at 12:30 American EST.

France: Le Débat: Jeu, Set, Match Hollande

May 3, 2012 13 comments

It is hard to really determine a winner in a presidential debate. Both candidates are usually well-prepared, having digested long lists of facts and numbers, and ready to rumble and get it over with. Even in the American tradition of 3 presidential debates, it is hard to clearly say that one candidate has clearly won, while the other has clearly lost. Well, this was not the case tonight. In tonight’s French presidential debate, there was a clear winner and there was a clear loser. Hollande won, and Sarkozy lost.

Hollande dominated the debate from the beginning till the end. For almost 3 hours, the challenger showed his keen mastery of every fact related to any topic debated. In one word, it was a rare display of superiority. Sarkozy looked lost, angry, belligerent, disrespectful, not in control of his own files and facts. Sarkozy was outclassed and out-punched. Briefly stated, Sarkozy was in over his head.

We have to remember, Sarkozy was the candidate who demanded to have 3 debates. He was the candidate who said that he was “going to explode [Hollande].” Of course, Sarkozy, the bomb-maker, got exploded tonight. It is useless to go over every minute of the 3 hour long debate, but there was a passage, just before the end, where Hollande literally put the cherry on top of the cake. It was the apotheosis of the debate, the climatic moment, a moment that would certainly enter the history of presidential debates. Talking about his vision of the presidency and what he will do differently, Hollande, in a very eloquent way–almost poetic–summed up all of Sarkozy’s failures and emphasized clearly and calmly what he would do differently.  Watch, this was a beautiful moment.

France: Mediapart lance une bombe dans les derniers jours de la campagne présidentielle.

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Mediapart, the only independent and courageous investigative online newspaper left in France (along with Le Canard Enchaîné), just published damning accusations against the incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy. For those who do not read French (and soon i will try to translate the article and publish an English version), Mediaprt reports that Kadhafi illegally financed and funded Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential electoral campaign. A 50 million euros is reported to have changed hands, going from the Libyan officials to Sarkzy’s team. The document obtained by Mediapart and published on its website (see below) clearly shows an agreement between Sarkozy’s himself and top Libyan officials such as the Director of the Libyan Intelligence Services, Abdallah Senoussi, the President of the Libyan Investment Funds in Africa, Bachir Saleh, and Moussa Koussa, the closest adviser to Kadhafi and his family for decades as well as the former head of the Libyan Foreign and Counter-Intelligence Services. These are the highest Libyan officials during Kadhafi’s regime.  Why did Kadhafi agree to donate 50 million euros–the equivalent of 66 million dollars–to bankroll Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign? What did Kadhafi get for it? Were weapon and military equipment sales during Sarkoy’s tenure a part of that agreement? These are questions that Sarkozy must answer.

These serious and damning accusation, if their veracity is upheld, are the equivalent of the Watergate Scandal on crack-cocaine. Sarkozy cannot avoid answering these allegations. His answer has to be clear, concise, and accurate. He cannot dance around the subject and try to deflect the gravity of these allegations by attacking the media as he has been doing recently. The messenger is not the problem here; it is the message that must be answered.

Here is the article, courtesy of Mediapart

Sarkozy-Kadhafi: la preuve du financement

Le régime de Mouammar Kadhafi a bien décidé de financer la campagne présidentielle de Nicolas Sarkozy en 2007. Mediapart a retrouvé un document officiel libyen qui le prouve. Cette note issue des archives des services secrets a été rédigée il y a plus de cinq ans. L’en-tête et le blason vert de la Jamahiriya préimprimés s’effacent d’ailleurs légèrement. Ce document, avec d’autres, a échappé aux destructions de l’offensive militaire occidentale. D’anciens hauts responsables du pays, aujourd’hui dans la clandestinité, ont accepté de le communiquer à Mediapart ces tout derniers jours.

Dès 2006, le régime libyen avait choisi « d’appuyer la campagne électorale» de Nicolas Sarkozy à la présidentielle de 2007, et ce pour un « montant de cinquante millions d’euros » : c’est ce qu’indique en toutes lettres cette note datée du 10 décembre 2006, signée par Moussa Koussa, l’ancien chef des services de renseignements extérieurs de la Libye.

Un accord « sur le montant et les modes de versement » aurait été validé quelques mois plus tôt par Brice Hortefeux, alors ministre délégué aux collectivités locales, en présence de l’homme d’affaires Ziad Takieddine, qui a introduit dès 2005 en Libye les proches du ministre de l’intérieur, notamment Claude Guéant, et Nicolas Sarkozy lui-même. Le directeur de cabinet de Mouammar Kadhafi, Bachir Saleh, alors à la tête du Libyan African Portfolio (LAP, soit l’un des fonds d’investissement financier du régime libyen), aurait de son côté été chargé de superviser les paiements.

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L’élément nouveau que nous publions aujourd’hui vient désormais confirmer les accusations portées par les principaux dirigeants libyens eux-mêmes peu avant le déclenchement de la guerre sous l’impulsion de la France, en mars 2011. Mouammar Kadhafi, son fils Saïf al-Islam et un ancien chef des services secrets, Abdallah Senoussi, avaient en effet tous trois affirmé publiquement détenir des preuves d’un financement occulte du président français. La découverte de la note de M. Koussa exige désormais que s’engagent des investigations officielles – qu’elles soient judiciaires, policières ou parlementaires – sur cet épisode sombre et occulte des relations franco-libyennes.

Abdallah Senoussi

(..) Selon des connaisseurs du régime libyen à qui nous l’avons soumis, ce document, dont le signataire et le destinataire appartenaient au premier cercle de Kadhafi, est conforme, jusque dans son style, aux habitudes bureaucratiques du régime. Outre celle du calendrier grégorien, la deuxième date qui y figure conforte son authenticité: elle n’est pas celle du calendrier musulman habituel, mais de celui imposé par le dictateur, qui part de l’année du décès du prophète Mahomet, l’an 632.

Depuis plusieurs mois, nous avons entrepris des recherches pour retrouver des dépositaires d’archives du régime déchu, en rencontrant à Paris et à l’étranger plusieurs représentants de factions libyennes, dont certaines avaient conservé des documents et d’autres s’en étaient emparé, en marge des affrontements armés. Ainsi, Mediapart a publié ici, dès le 10 avril dernier, des documents des services spéciaux libyens demandant des mesures de surveillance d’opposants toubous domiciliés en France.

Le document décisif que nous publions aujourd’hui, sous la signature de Moussa Koussa, a été adressé, le 10 décembre 2006, à un ancien homme clé du régime libyen, Bachir Saleh, surnommé le « caissier de Kadhafi ». Directeur de cabinet du “guide” déchu, M. Saleh était aussi le responsable du Libyan African Portfolio (LAP), le puissant fonds souverain libyen crédité de plus de 40 milliards de dollars. Sous l’ère Kadhafi, le LAP a servi à d’innombrables opérations d’investissement. Certaines avouables (tourisme, pétrole, agriculture, télécommunications…). Et d’autres moins, comme l’ont confirmé plusieurs sources libyennes concordantes. Contacté sur son numéro de téléphone portable français, M. Saleh n’a pas donné suite à nos sollicitations.

Connu pour avoir été l’un des plus proches collaborateurs de Mouammar Kadhafi et le mentor de deux de ses fils (Motassem et Saïf al-Islam), Moussa Koussa a quant à lui été le patron pendant plus de quinze ans, entre 1994-2011, des services secrets extérieurs libyens (l’équivalent de la DGSE française), avant de devenir le ministre des affaires étrangères de la Libye.

Moussa Koussa
Notons que l’auteur de cette note et son destinataire ont vécu, à l’heure de la chute du régime Kadhafi, des destins similaires. Moussa Koussa vit actuellement au Qatar, sous protection, après avoir fui la Libye en guerre, en mars 2011, ralliant d’abord Londres, puis quelques semaines plus tard Doha. Bachir Saleh, emprisonné brièvement par les rebelles du Conseil national de transition (CNT) avant d’être relâché en août dernier, a été exfiltré et accueilli par les Français. Comme l’a rapporté Le Canard enchaîné, lui et sa famille bénéficient toujours de la protection des autorités françaises qui leur ont accordé un titre de séjour provisoire.

Les deux paragraphes écrits par Moussa Koussa sont sans équivoque sur le sujet explosif abordé. «En référence aux instructions émises par le bureau de liaison du comité populaire général concernant l’approbation d’appuyer la campagne électorale du candidat aux élections présidentielles, Monsieur Nicolas Sarkozy, pour un montant d’une valeur de cinquante millions d’euros », peut-on d’abord y lire. Puis M. Koussa affirme transmettre et confirmer « l’accord de principe sur le sujet cité ci-dessus ». Le montant pharaonique promis par les Libyens est à rapprocher des 20 millions d’euros officiellement dépensés par Nicolas Sarkozy lors de sa campagne présidentielle de 2007.
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« C’est grotesque », avait réagi Nicolas Sarkozy sur le plateau de TF1, le 12 mars dernier. « S’il (Kadhafi, ndlr) l’avait financée (la campagne, ndlr), je n’aurais pas été très reconnaissant », avait ironisé le président-candidat, en référence à l’intervention militaire française en Libye.
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Une chose est en revanche certaine : les forces de l’Otan ont bombardé le 19 août 2011, à 5 heures du matin, la maison d’Abdallah Senoussi, située dans le quartier résidentiel de Gharghour, à Tripoli. Un cuisinier indien avait trouvé la mort dans le raid et une école avait été détruite. « C’est un quartier résidentiel. Pourquoi l’Otan bombarde ce site ? Il n’y a pas de militaires ici », avait alors dénoncé un voisin, Faouzia Ali, cité par l’Agence France Presse.

La réponse se trouve peut-être dans les secrets qui lient M. Senoussi à la France. « C’est le principal témoin de la corruption financière et des accords qui ont impliqué de nombreux dirigeants et pays, dont la France », a affirmé en mars dernier à l’agence Reuters une source « haut placée dans le renseignement arabe ».

Fabrice Arfi et Karl Laske – Médiapart via Au bout de la rou