World News: Countdown to the French Presidential Elections

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With the first round of the Presidential elections quickly approaching, only one hypothesis seems certain: the next President of France will have to manage the consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and urgent internal matters.

For the citizens of France, those who head to the polls to determine the next tenant of the Elysée, the balance between the external efforts, humanitarian, the war's residual European fears, and the pandemic is a delicate balancing act left to the French voters to determine who masters.

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It is naturally impossible at this time to predict which of the twelve candidates declared in the presidential election will be the one who will sit on the Elysée on the evening of April 24 for the next five years. However, the question that now emerges is how the future tenant of the Elysée will respond to the multiple challenges that will arise for him.

Not that they are more numerous than five or ten years ago, or even more, because these same challenges have been generated or amplified by the health crisis and the war in Ukraine. For the first, the rebound and then the economic shock that it has caused, and which will have to be managed with delicacy to avoid an inflationary wave too high due to an equally high rise in interest rates (not to mention the risks to employment, the morale of households and businesses), it will also be necessary to learn to manage the possible episodes of contamination in the years to come.

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The exercise is far from easy as the exasperation with regard to an epidemic that never ends is great and a driver of social tensions to watch closely. With regard to the second challenge, namely the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which could almost have been forgotten about the pandemic, as its suddenness and violence have stunned the world, it will again be necessary to show great skill and increased diplomatic vigilance.

Geopolitical Tensions

The geopolitical changes we are witnessing are far from complete and the Ukrainian question could, in the end, only be a foretaste of the decades to come. The portrait that is emerging between health wars and geopolitical tensions is in no way engaging for the one to whom the supreme office will fall. So, the simple question obviously arises: What to do?

It will be up to everyone to respond in the light of their own convictions, but if common sense were to prevail, it seems that several essential measures are needed. The research undertaken to extinguish the pandemic by mass vaccination will certainly have to be continued and intensified in order to, on arrival, make covid-19 a banal seasonal epidemic and not one capable of paralyzing an entire planet for entire month.

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However, this policy of fighting the epidemic, which no one fundamentally disputes, is also a carrier of decisions, as the Vaccine Pass has proven, capable of generating a number of oppositions likely to slow down or interfere in the eradication or control of the virus without counting the tensions on the health systems concerned (Hospitals, caregivers, ...) put to the test and quickly overwhelmed.

Thus, rethinking the hospital, its public service missions and working on the professional comfort of caregivers proved to be an absolute emergency in the aftermath of the first wave of the pandemic. And it is clear that it is not the few increases granted to staff that will make it possible to avoid the problem in the years to come.

Cordial or Friendly?

The international situation will call for a finesse of judgment and a sense of diplomacy of the sharpest as relations with China and Russia are likely to be strained not up to the breaking point but in dimensions more cordial than frankly friendly.

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The need for the West, and France in particular, to maintain strong trade contacts with the Asian giant will certainly force concessions that are difficult to accept (Human Rights, Indo-Pacific,) inevitable, France being in no way a world heavyweight, at best a middle power in need of international recognition. As for relations with Russia, they are already to be reinvented, with or without Putin, either with a view to new collaborations, or in a logic of gradual distancing to achieve no success.


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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