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Argentina and France: The Specter of Globalization

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Complete Coverage Europe

The République's Tango

by Ana Simo

JUNE 10, 2002. A record number of Arab and black French citizens ran for parliament in Sunday's elections in France — 123 out of a total of 8,424 candidates. Most ran as Green Party, independent, or leftist candidates. None appears on track to get a seat, ensuring five more years of political disenfranchisement for both groups, who make up about 10 percent of the country's 60 million people. There is only one black member representing mainland France, and no Arab in the 577-seat parliament.

A paltry 10 were fielded by the major parties, which consider non-white candidates ballot poison. The Socialist Party, which consistently gets about two-thirds of a minority vote it has done almost nothing to deserve, managed to field a grand total of three candidates.

With the collapse of the Left ensured by massive abstention at the polls yesterday, absolute power is now within President Jacques Chirac's grasp. If his conservative, law-and-order government seriously tackles France's racial witches' cauldron, as promised, it better remember that it takes two to dance the République's integrationist tango. So should the battered Socialists. But in the land of the ostrich-politician and the plus ça change, no one's holding their breath.

For Argentina and France: The Specter of Globalization

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