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France profonde

Jean-Marie Le Pen will soon be begging the rural mayors of France to endorse his presidential run next year. Is it their democratic duty to sign? Or not to sign?

By Tim King   December 2006

Politicians and politologues in Paris like to feel that fundamental decisions about democracy in France are their exclusive domain, but thanks to circumstances unforeseen by the writers of the 1958 constitution, the future course of French democracy lies, briefly and uniquely, in the hands of the mayors of France profonde—by and large retired schoolmasters and farmers sharing only an innate cynicism towards Parisian politologues.

Anyone hoping to become president of France needs to get 500 endorsements from elected representatives across 30 départements (roughly a third of the total), with not more than 50 signatures from one département. No problem for…

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