Hurrying home from work, Noellie Benison paused to take in the grinning poster of the former U.S. president, flanking a busy meridian in northern Paris. “Obama 2017,” she read out. Below: the French translation of his famous tagline, “Oui, on peut” — “Yes we can.” “If Obama runs, I’ll vote for him, that’s for sure,” said 55-year-old Benison, who is planning to cast a blank ballot in this spring’s presidential vote. “We’ve lost our confidence,” she added, dismissing the current crop of candidates. “They’re all the same.” What started as a joke over beers by a quartet of Parisians in their 30s has made international news in less than a week. Today, Obama2017.fr – an online petition to put Barack Obama on the French ballot, has received 50,000 signatures, its organizers say.
“We were talking about how we always feel we’re voting against and never for something,” one of the organizers said in an interview, describing how the initiative was born. “And then we started thinking it would be so great to have Obama as president.”
Besides soliciting smiles, the tongue-and-cheek petition is resonating in a disaffected France, where many of the same faces crop up vote after vote.
With the exception of former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, a relative neophyte, this spring’s presidential election appears no different. Further souring the political offer, two of the front runners, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and conservative former prime minister Francois Fillon, face financing scandals.
Full Article: Thousands Sign Petition to Put Obama on French Presidential Ballot.