By Christophe Adrien, Associate Writer, Wall Street Sector Selector
Not two weeks after the dramatic climax of a standoff between French Police and Mohamed Merah in which the latter was killed, another scare has gripped the French Capital. Rumors have emerged surrounding five killings (1), all carried out in a similar manner and with the same weapon. The so-called “serial killer” is currently under investigation, but this French renegade is no Zodiac killer. French authorities have not shied from speculating that the new killer-on-the-run is yet another self proclaimed muslim fundamentalist.
Amid multiple arrests of radical Islamic clerics (2), it would seem that France is in the throws of a clash of civilizations. On the one hand, the classically franco-catholic population is attempting to uphold the fundamental ideologies of the first French revolution. On the other hand, immigrants from the Middle East and Africa are seemingly importing new cultural values and a stricter attachment to their religious affiliations. The friction between these two populations is escalating rapidly and will likely influence the impending presidential election. Muslims will certainly not benefit from a continuing trend of radical Islamists to publicly threaten the general public (3).
Fears surrounding the recent escalation in violence by Muslim radicals is likely to push traditional French (NYSEARCA:EWQ) voters to vote conservative, hoping that a conservative government will work more diligently to expunge the recent increase in violence. Right-wing candidates, such as Marine LePen, have painted an ugly picture of the French Muslim population, siting that all Muslims have the capacity to turn radical and violent(4). LePen’s efforts to vilify muslims has gained her several percentage points in the polls, an indication of how intense the situation has become.
All of the facts being said, the true likely winner in all of this is current President Nicolas Sarkozy. Tough on immigration, tough on religious censorship, and a fervent defendant of the secular “Droits de L’Homme”, Sarkozy’s political message will likely attract those voters who fear the radicalization of Islam in France. Consequently, Sarkozy will have a greater chance of being re-elected, a prospect which Europe will need to prepare for in the near future. While Germany’s (NYSEARCA:EWG) Angela Merkel, among other European (NYSEARCA:VGK) leaders will breathe a sigh of relief at a Sarkozy re-election, they will no-doubt continue to have to put up with Sarkozy’s zealous xenophobic rhetoric which has preserved the bare crimson of his popularity in France. Unfortunately, this same rhetoric occasionally receives negative reviews from the markets.
Bottom Line: France (NYSEARCA:EWQ) is experiencing social strife among its diverse minorities. This strife will likely sway the greater voter population to vote conservative which will have long-term economic results as a conservative leader in France could drastically change Eurozone politics. With the Eurozone stuck in a delicate balance between politics and what needs to be done, a change in French leadership could spell disaster for an already fragile political partnership among key Eurozone members.
Christophe Adrien is an associate writer for Wall Street Sector Selector. Born in California, Christophe Adrien spent his formative years in France. He attended university in Oregon and has earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Oregon State University. At university, Christophe conducted extensive studies in the field of History, specializing in the political cultures of France and Russia. Christophe speaks English and French natively, is fluent in Spanish, and has experience with German, Russian, and Latin. Having traveled the globe extensively, Christophe has cultivated a unique view of the global economy, its origins, and the current state of global affairs.