Thursday, December 2

All French parties claim the political legacy of General De Gaulle


Between 75 and 80% of the French fear that France is in “decline”, a kind word to try to avoid using another crude word: “decline”. Faced with this contained national anguish, the memory, the ghost, the ‘mummy’ of Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970) It is the mythical figure that the parties and personalities that promise to save the nation after the next presidential election take out in procession.

In the national imagination, General de Gaulle still more popular than Louis XIV and Napoleon, the other two great figures of the French pantheon.

Emmanuel Macron, president, candidate for his own succession as head of state, is the first and strongest defender of personality and legacy

of the general, presented as guide, model, archetype and saving hero, for these reasons: «Resilience and will are the matrix of the national spirit embodied by de Gaulle, committed to the defense of France in moments of glory and moments of pain. That is the essence of his inheritance, the inheritance of France.

Macron has already used the image of the general profusely with obvious success, during the victorious electoral campaign that allowed him to conquer the Elysee in 2017: “In times of crisis, resilience makes us stronger against all threats. Our model is de Gaulle. ‘ For four years, six months before the next presidential election, Macron was confirmed and confirmed as the best student of the Gaullist class, with a string of decisions in the best patriotic tradition heir to the general: defending the autonomy and strategic independence of Europe before the hegemony of the United States, standing up to Washington on essential reasons, trying to have “particular” relations with Russia and China. Macron has frequently used a phrase from the great Gaullist tradition: “We must defend France’s place in the world.”

On the right, the party The Republicans (LR, traditional right) he is the last avatar of all the direct heir parties of Charles de Gaulle, led successively by Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.

LR will elect its candidate for the presidential election in early December. The three main candidates compete in his defense and permanent rescue of the heritage, the model and the example of the Gaullist ‘mummy’. Michel Barnier, Former European commissioner, former minister in successive conservative governments, launched his candidate campaign for the conservative candidacy for the presidency of the Republic with passionate praise from the general: «I have been a Gaullist since I was 14 years old, when I had a poster of the general in my room. His example has guided my entire political life. De Gaulle began by opposing the entry of the United Kingdom into the European Community, which the general was the first to defend. And it was my turn to negotiate Brexit, the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Faced with the future of France and Europe, Barnier estimates that de Gaulle remains a canonical model: “De Gaulle had a very strong national feeling. But he was not a nationalist. He knew that France cannot be strong by isolating itself. We are in those. Defend our interests in a strong Europe. ‘

Xavier Bertrand, president of the Altos de Francia (north) region, also a candidate for the conservative candidacy for the presidency of the Republic, also launched his campaign waving the general’s flag: “Gauchism is not a religion, nor a catechism. Gaullism is a will, a determination, to affirm our identity, united. That is the modernity of Gaullism. In a permanent campaign, Bertrand turns to de Gaulle, denouncing Macron’s “lack of leadership”: “France needs a boss, which today it does not have. De Gaulle established an almost mystical relationship with our nation, France. That union is a relationship of strength, which we need more than ever. Bertrand advocates “stronger” policies.

Valerie Pécresse, a candidate for the conservative candidacy for the head of state, likewise, she also resorts to the general to defend her personal political project and the identity of French conservatism: «The great spiritual force of the national right is to have preferred Charles de Gaulle to Charles Maurras … ». After that distant parallel, a very current political lesson. Pécresse defends Gaullist nationalist conservatism against the very ultra conservatism of Maurras, patriarch of a certain extreme right of the 30s of the last century. It is an essential nuance in order to understand the most current and flammable conservative confrontations.

Launching your presidential campaign, Marine Le Pen He also began by praising the general as a founding and exemplary patriarch, with this declaration of principles: “It is more urgent than ever to take inspiration from the heritage of Charles de Gaulle to lift France out of the crises where it is trapped.”

Exceptional novelty. Historically, close friends of Jean-Marie Le Pen attempted to assassinate de Gaulle, who responded with tough police energy. Fifty-nine years after the Petit-Clamart attack, when friends of Le Pen (father) tried to assassinate de Gaulle, Marine Le Pen chose Bayeux (Normandy) to assert her “national ambition.” In national mythology, Bayeux is the city where Charles de Gaulle delivered, in 1946, the founding speech of all the institutions of the Fifth Republic. Seventy-five years later, Marine Le Pen travels to that mythical place of the Gaullist ‘mummy’ to present herself as an imaginary heir.

Eric ZemmourAn ultra-conservative candidate for the presidency, he presents himself as the “only” “authentic” heir of the general. Without a party, “only against all”, defending national identity, against multiculturalism and against a “stateless” Europe. Zemmour campaigns against the EU defending a “Europe of peoples and nations, with its own identity”, presented as a “model” conceived by de Gaulle.

Historically, the relations between Charles de Gaulle with the left (socialists and communists) were much worse than conflictive. Fifty years after the death of the general, the PS is quoted at 4-5% of voting intentions; and the PCF to 2%. Nevertheless, Anne Hidalgo, PS candidate to the presidential election, he does not hesitate to make a pilgrimage to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, where de Gaulle is buried, to pay him silent homage. Fabien Roussel, candidato comunista to the presidency, he does not hesitate to repeat: “De Gaulle and the communists were partners in liberating France from Nazi occupation.”


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