R. J. Nello

🇺🇸-born, 🇬🇧-based, novelist.📖 Writing, travel, culture and more. Always holding "auditions" – so be careful or you may end up a character in “1797”…and perhaps an evil one.🎭 (And why do I suspect some of you might like that latter in particular?)😂

The Woman Whose Name Is On New York Bridges

November 17, 2016
R. J. Nello

I open this morning by restating once again – to reassure you – that this is NOT a politics blog. But there are times I feel I have to swerve briefly into that (unseemly) arena. After all, we have heard so much about the U.S. presidential election that it was impossible here to ignore it entirely.

Street in La Clusaz, Haute Savoie, France. It's almost ski season again! [Photo by me, 2015]

Street in La Clusaz, Haute Savoie, France. It’s almost ski season again! [Photo by me, 2015]

If you’re exhausted by the U.S. one, well, France – which is of some interest here, as you know – is going to have a presidential election of its own in April (1st round) and May (2nd round) 2017. The Socialist candidate may be the incumbent president, François Hollande. However it seems highly unlikely he will win a second five-year term.

And why? Recently, it was reported President Hollande has a 4 percent job approval rating. No, that is not a typo. I wrote *FOUR* percent:

So it appears that outside of his immediate friends and family, most of the rest of the country has little use for President Hollande. What will happen with him remains unclear. Because of his unpopularity, there is a distinct chance he will not seek re-election and the Socialists will nominate someone else.

Chances are Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National (often referred to as the “extreme right” or “far right” party), will be a big vote winner in April’s first round at least. But it appears the largest center-right (conservative) party, formerly known as the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and now called “the Republicans,” will probably provide France’s next president. Although as we have all just also been reminded in the U.S., one never knows for sure until THE ELECTION is actually held.

The last woman now polling in any contention for the Republican party’s nomination is the party’s former vice president, forty-three-year-old Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, also widely known by her initials: NKM:

On November 20, the Republicans will hold a primary to try to decide on their candidate. NKM is in only the single digits so seems unlikely to prevail. The frontrunner for the party’s nomination appears to be former prime minister Alain Juppé.

If the first half of NKM’s double-barreled surname sounds familiar, it should. She’s descended from the Polish engineer officer who fought in the American Revolution and later lived in France. New York City’s Kosciusko Bridge, and upstate’s I-87 Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge near Albany, are named in Tadeusz Kościuszko’s honor – as are quite a few other things on this planet.

That pesky “eighteenth century” has a way of popping up in our lives in ways we might never expect! 🙂

Who France chooses as its next president is up to French voters. Even if I thought it proper to “meddle” with an opinion here as an American, I would never publicly “endorse” her. If I did, with my terrible track record when it comes to backing winning U.S. presidential candidates over the years (usually, I don’t), my voiced support would almost certainly finish her off totally anyway. 😉

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

UPDATE: December 3: Former prime minister François Fillon won the final runoff Republican primary on November 27. President François Hollande shortly thereafter announced he would not be seeking a second term as president. No matter who it is, France will have a new president in May 2017.

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