- Le PEN -
The charismatic Le Pen has won the right to contest the French Presidency against criminally accused incumbent Chirac.
The Presidential elections in France attempt to combine the best elements of the "preference" and the "first past the post" systems of voting. All presidential candidates are entered in a primary "first past the post" contest, a few weeks later the two leading contenders must contest a final "two horse" race.
Le Pen came in second in the primary vote, much to the surprise of the media. Incumbent Chirac was first.
Le Pen sees the contest as being "the people -v- the system". Le Pen has been accused of Racism, and is against the ECM. If elected President, he has promised a referendum on entry to Europe.
One "Le Pennism" was to call the Holocaust "a detail of history". However this crime seems to loom larger in the eyes of the Left than in the minds of most French Jews, who reportedly support Le Pen. Perhaps French Jews support him because he is promising to deport illegal immigrant Muslims? (That was a winning policy for Prime Minister John Howard in the recent Australian federal election.)
In the meantime we must wait and see the impact of Le Pen promises to the electorate. SPIN suspects that his promise to hold a referendum on European entry would be causing an arctic wind to blow in the halls of Brussels. London is upset. Perhaps Tony Blair sees French hesitancy as a fatal indicator to his own hopes of bringing the UK into the European fold.
- SAUDI ARABIA -
One can almost feel sympathy for the Princes of Saud. As curators of the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina they have done a deal with the USA who appears as "the great Satan". They feel that their souls (or reputations) are forfeit. Don't worry fellahs. Arafat will be a spent force within months, and then your reputations will be restored. Possibly you will be seen as astute.
President Bush is showing "attitude" about the Middle east, as SPIN foretold shortly after his election. Arafat was rather slow at learning that his impregnable political fortress was built on sand. Soon the Israelis will withdraw, leaving in tatters the criminal terror organization that Arafat has spent years building.
Arafat has lost relevance because he is a failure. He was unable to correctly predict the complex political forces operating in the region, and that error has cost the Palestinian cause much treasure and many lives. Despite Arab inertia about replacing leaders, the knives are being sharpened.
The Israelis seem to believe that
a new Palestinian leader might impose iron discipline and bring peace to
Palestine. That would not be in the interests of regional juntas
that suppress internal dissent by focussing dissatisfaction on the Palestinian
struggle. However Arafat is quite old. Perhaps he can
be persuaded that it is time for him to relinquish his reign and retire