Podcast: Yellow Vests' revenge, rising abstention, the end of France's brothels

Yellow Vest militants hope to vote Macron out of office. How younger generations are shifting their relationship to voting. And the WWI spy who lobbied successfully to shut down France's brothels in 1946.

Candidates running in the first round of presidential elections this Sunday have made the rising cost of living and loss of purchasing power a key campaign issue. Prices are going up, driven by soaring petrol and energy costs. President Emmanuel Macron, who is running for re-election, knows only too well how angry people can get over fuel hikes: his attempts to introduce a tax on diesel sparked the Yellow Vest protest movement in November 2018 that turned into a revolt against him. While the Covid lockdown in March 2020 put an end to weekly protests, the Yellow Vest did not die out and some militants see the election as a way of finally getting shot of Macron. Agnès and Nathalie joined the Yellow Vests in Chartres, and feature in a documentary film about the movement, Un peuple (A French Revolution), by Emmanuel Gras. They talk to us about how their lives have changed since 2018 and why the battle is far from over. (Listen @2'56'')

Macron is leading in the polls but the key to winning the 2022 presidential election will depend a lot on voter turnout, which has been steadily decreasing in most French elections in the last two decades. However, political scientist Vincent Tiberj (@vtiberj), editor of a recent book of essays about voting behaviour in France, Extinction de vote (Vote extinction), points out that abstention rates vary, depending on the election and the issue at hand. He talks about how voting has changed drastically in France over the last couple of generations. (Listen @23'20'')

On 13 April 1946, France closed its 1,400 brothels, thanks to a woman named Marthe Richard. Prostituted as a teenager, she went on to have a particularly varied and colourful life – as a pilot, spy and politician. (Listen @16'45'')

This episode was mixed by Nicolas Doreau.

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on rfienglish.com, iTunes (link here), Spotify (link here), Google podcasts (link here), or your favourite podcast app (pod.link/1573769878).
7 Apr 2022 English France News

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