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France profonde

By the time you read this, the first round of the French presidential election will have taken place. What has the three-month campaign told us about modern France?

By Tim King   May 2007

For the first time in the fifth republic, France is enjoying a presidential election campaign with neither an outgoing president nor a prime minister running. For a while at least, France will no longer be led by old men: it feels like a fresh beginning. Determined to distance themselves from their predecessors, the new generation of younger candidates tried to redefine the persona of a French head of state. They studiously avoided the much-ridiculed langue de bois—elegant but meaningless circumlocutions—as well as that over-pompous delivery beloved of French presidents, which accentuates the impression that they are from another planet. Sometimes,…

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