Tech Spotlight – Transparency Time – Behind Macron’s Polling Revival – POLITICO

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Hello and good afternoon. Today is Wednesday, March 9. Far-right instigator Eric Zemmour has yet to personally respond to a new series of harassment and sexual assault allegations released yesterday in a documentary released by an investigative outlet. Mediapart. Talk to AFPhis “entourage” – which is how French media refer to a campaign official who does not want to be named – said the report was “despicable, five weeks before the first round” of the election, adding that “Mediapart is looking to pull a stunt on [International] women’s day by reusing testimonials published last year.

New complaints: The first public allegations against Zemmour indeed released almost a year ago, as rumors surrounding his presidential bid grew louder. However, a new allegation emerged yesterday from a woman, named Claire by Mediapart, who accused Zemmour of sexual assault. She said when she was an 18-year-old intern at the French daily Le Figaro in 2002, Zemmour stroked her lower back as she helped her with a computer problem. Claire spoke about the incident to her boss at the time, Pascale Sauvage. Sauvage confirmed this to Mediapart and said that when she told Zemmour to back off, the current candidate replied, “The interns are here for pipes and coffee.”

Electoral impact: It is difficult to assess how these allegations will affect Zemmour in 32 days. But what we do know is that he has a harder time convincing women than men to vote for him, with a gender difference of two to four percentage points according to the polls. “At home, I do the dishes, I sort the garbage cans and I love to shop. Interesting, isn’t it? Well no, in truth no one cares,” he said. a fan hall yesterday.


TECH SPOTLIGHT: The presidential candidates are presenting their digital proposals to the French tech ecosystem today. POLITICO technical correspondent Laura Kayali tells me that Digital convergencean umbrella organization for French digital lobbies, invites candidates to elevator pitches of 10 to 15 minutes (it’s true that it’s a fairly slow elevator).

Who will be there?: Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse of the Republicans, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of France Insoumis, Yannick Jadot of the Greens and the socialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo are expected. It is not yet known whether Marine Le Pen of the National Rally and incumbent Emmanuel Macron will be there in person or will send someone to represent them.

Move fast and don’t break anything: Let’s be honest, technology has never been a major theme in the current campaign (much to Laura’s chagrin) and the war in Ukraine has moved it even further down the priority list, with the notable exception of cybersecurity. .

Using the acronym: All the candidates are campaigning on their version of digital sovereignty and want to curb Big Tech, known in France by the acronym GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft). They also want to depend less on foreign powers and companies for digital infrastructure, including cloud computing.

Knock it down Macronie: Opposition candidates are also using technology to criticize Macron’s legacy. “The government has treated digital as a sub-category of the economy. However, there is no economic sovereignty or defense without technological sovereignty,” Laura Nelly Garnier, who advises Conservative candidate Pécresse, told Laura. On the left, the Socialists and Mélenchon’s party shoot for the executive over a refusal to classify platform workers – such as Deliveroo couriers and Uber drivers – as employees, which both sides plan to do. (Deliveroo is currently on trial on his job model.)

Main proposals: Each candidate’s technical plan aligns with their broader priorities. Curator Pécresse wants online identity checks and to ban users found guilty of cyberbullying from social media. Left Winger Melenchon wants strategic data to be stored locally and a right to encrypted communications to be added to the country’s constitution. Jadot of the Greens promises to combat planned obsolescence.

Go after the monkey vote: New problems are also emerging, such as Zemmour pitches more investment in blockchain and web3, as well as creating a “conducive environment” for cryptocurrencies. Read Laura’s article for POLITICO Pro subscribers here.

MOMENT OF TRANSPARENCY: Privacy is, of course, a very important right for everyone. But yesterday, as France’s transparency watchdog published the declarations of interest of the 12 candidates, French journalists took advantage of their inalienable right to be nosy.

Ownership issue: Since 2017, presidential candidates have been required to disclose their assets and sources of income over the past five years, making for exceptional gossip. Documents show the Tory candidate Pécresse is undoubtedly the richest candidate in the peloton, with an estate valued at nearly 10 million euros. She owns two houses in the seaside resort of La Baule, one of which was once on Airbnb, and another at Versailles. She also owns, alongside her husband Jérôme, General Electric shares worth just over a million euros (he is the CEO of GE’s renewable energy division).

Always a loan: We also learned more about Le Pen’s €10.7m campaign finance loan from MKB Bank, a Hungarian lender. whose main owner is one of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s closest allies. Even though she took out the loan under her own name, she should have no problem paying it back…if she makes it to the second round. In 2017, the French State reimbursed up to 10.7 million euros to the two finalists, and only 8 million euros to candidates who obtained more than 5% of the votes but who failed to qualify for the second round.

Little tricks: Readers will be delighted to discover Macron’s €460,000 in savings, Zemmour’s five apartments and €65,000 columnist salary, as well as Jadot’s unsurprising electric moped.


FLAG BEARER: 32 days to the first round of voting and the upward trend for Macron in POLITICO’s poll of polls continues. With Russia’s war on Ukraine escalating, the increase in support for the incumbent is what political scientists call the “rally around the flag effect,” according to POLITICO. polls analyst Cornelius Hirsch. To date, the poll gives 29% of the vote to Macron and 17% to Le Pen while Mélenchon, Pécresse and Zemmour are tied around the 12% mark.

Behind the trend: A recent survey asked the French who they trust in the current situation and the results explain Macron’s surge in voting intention polls. A clear majority (59%) of French public opinion affirms that the current president has been up to the task since the beginning of the war. No other candidate approaches this bar, the second Pécresse obtaining a positive response from almost half of the respondents to the Ifop-Fiducial poll for Sud Radio. Note that the fieldwork for the survey was done a week ago.


WHEN PUTIN IS NOT GOING OUT: Some may wonder why Le Pen, who was generally supportive of Russia and President Vladimir Putin before the invasion, is not taking the same hit in the polls as his far-right rival Zemmour. In a piece of The Parisian To unravel the mystery, pollster Matthieu Gallard explains that “Le Pen’s popular core is less interested in the campaign, and less reactive” to current events. According to Gallard’s outlet, Ipsos-Sopra-Steria, only 18% of Le Pen voters place the war in Ukraine among their top three issues.


– Job alert! The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights is looking for experts for a five-week “electoral assessment mission” before the presidential race. You must be an OSCE national, but not French, of course. The deadline is next Tuesday.

— Something for your OSCE job interview: Macron’s campaign on official social media accounts puts him at odds with French law, according to opinion.

by Macron the plan for the next five years should be published “by the end of next week”, The Parisian reports.

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