Dr Itay Lotem, Postdoctoral Fellow in French Language and Culture, has written an article for The Conversation on the controversies surrounding French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in his language describing colonialism.

Dr Lotem explained how the new centrist party candidate Emmanuel Macron was the target of controversies, following his words in regards to colonialism he addressed in an interview for an Algerian TV Channel. 

Macron was interviewed by Echonouk News during a political visit to Algeria on the 15th February in which he talked about his desire ‘to build a bridge’ between France and its former colony. This triggered a series of angry comments from the public in regards to Macron’s colonialism interpretation, which may show how the topic of colonialism seems to subsist as a taboo in France.

Shortly after this event, French rival political parties also addressed outraged comments towards Macron’s blunder. Dr Lotem went on to mention the centre-right candidate from Les Républicains, François Fillon, who seized the opportunity to divert attention from his own scandals to qualifying Macron’s words as ‘hateful’ of France.

Continuing, the article also described Macron’s unpopular visit to south eastern French region where his political meeting got disrupted by angry French ‘Pieds-noirs’ (former European settlers from Algeria) and far-right Front National activists.

Dr Lotem concluded by describing Macron’s popularity as being fragile during the election campaign. The former socialist, turned independent has quickly demonstrated a successful detachment from the image as Hollande’s former minister of economy and managed to attract voters from both the right and left wings.

However, Dr Lotem underlined that this emancipation could be seen as a double-edged sword: “This success, however, is fragile. Recent polls show that only 33% of voters who consider voting for Macron are sure they will do so on Election Day, while his centrist position has attracted comments on Twitter such as: “Trying to be everywhere, he ends up being nowhere.”

Read the full article on the Conversation website

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