FB-Connections Event on French Elections

On the 24th of April 2012, The Franco-British Connections, in partnership with the Franco-British Society and the KCL Politics Society, organised a political debate on the current French presidential elections. In front of an audience of about a hundred, in a beautiful lecture hall at King’s College, our panel consisted of three politicians, a journalist and a academic debated on how the French elections would affect Europe, the UK and Franco-British relations. The discussions were moderated by Lord Grenfell and his undeniable wit.

The evening began with a five-minute presentation of each speaker. Firstly, Benedict Paviot, Anglo-French journalist at France 24 opened the discussion commenting on the results of the first round of the elections and how they will impact European politics as the next French president, whoever he may be, will have to face important international issues.

After this concise, informative and enlightening introductory speech, three of the candidates for the 2012 parliamentary elections in North Europe gave us their points of view on French and European politics. Indeed, since the 2008 constitutional reform adopted by the French parliament, French citizens living abroad will have the right to elect their own MP.

Olivier Cadic, right-wing independent candidate, Axelle Lemaire, Socialist Party Candidate and Yannick Naud, centre (Modem) candidate then explained their political convictions and gave their analysis of the current political climate in France and Europe.

Later Dr Jim Wolfreys, lecturer in French politics and European studies at King’s College, gave a brief history of French politics and various parties in the light of the current political climate. He placed particular emphasis on the development of Marine Le Pen’s Far Right party.

This was then followed by a Q&A session during which different interesting questions were asked on topics such as “how to tackle the emergence of the far right”, “how the next French president could stop the debt deficit” or “should France give the right of vote to foreigners”…

To finish off the evening, the debate was followed by a drinks reception, sponsored by the KCL Politics Society, during which groups of students carried on with the discussion in small groups with some of the speakers.

You can find the brochure of the past event on this link.

Report by: Florian Bercault & Aurélia Mason