Paris attack: What does it mean for French presidential elections?

The conventional wisdom says that attacks like the one that occurred last night in Paris could help far-right in the elections, in France it could help Marine Le Pen. Do you agree, or do you see it somehow differently, and why? Read few comments.

Mathieu GuidèreProfessor, University of Paris

Actually, almost all the candidates to the presidency stressed the necessity to fight terrorism as a priority so it might not benefit to the only far-right wing but it might increase islamophobia in the country as a general trend of opinion.

Francesco Strazzari, Senior Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Associate Professor of International Relations, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa

There are important elections for Europe, and we have 4 candidates that may potentially make it to get to the run-off vote of May 7. We know that voters who have not yet decided, including those who may abstain are many are up to 40%. Even if this attack’s emotional wave and its political-media representations move only a small percentage, it will impact the results in some way. On paper one can foresee that, by brining center stage those issues concerning security and order that are classical themes of the right wing, they may favour Le Pen, Fillon, and perhaps Macron. All of this was designed by those who planned the attack, that took place during the final TV debate, on a thursday, instead of the usual friday’.

Arturo Varvelli, Head of Terrorism Research Program, ISPI (Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale)

It is true that this is exactly the purpose of the Islamic State, to radicalize public opinion in the West against the Muslim world. This phenomenon has been studies and named “reciprocal radicalisation”. A clear example for this dynamic is when right-wing extremist groups and Islamist organisations feed off each other, occasionally escalating into violence against what each group perceives as the “other”.

If IS will succeed in this goal is yet to be seen. This largely depends on the degree of maturity of the French public opinion and electorate.
The policies of marginalization or exclusion of Muslim community in the West countries are fundamentally counter-productive to its declared goal of making these countries more safe. It may in fact even increase the risk of terrorist attacks


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