A petition backed by a website and poster campaign launched last Monday, titled “Obama17,” is calling for Barack Obama to run for president in France’s upcoming election. The campaign is calling on French voters who are dissatisfied with the presidential candidates being fielded by the political parties to make a “radical choice” by signing a petition asking for the former U.S. President Barack Obama to run in the country’s presidential election.
The “radical” petition has received more than 30,000 signatures after hundreds of campaign posters appeared in Paris and photos were uploaded to social media last weekend, according to the Independent.
— Romuald COUSTRE (@rcoustre) February 21, 2017
The originators of the petition, who have chosen to remain anonymous, said they were hoping to get 1 million people to sign the petition, according to CNN. They said their petition was inspired by the groundswell of discontent among French voters about the quality of candidates being put forward by the parties.
“It arose from a conversation with friends,” one of the petitioners, who identified as “Barack,” told the Independent. “We decided that we didn’t want to vote for any of the candidates in this election, and that it has been the same for the last few elections. We are fed up of voting against people rather than for someone we actually support every time.”
“So we thought it would be ingenious to give the power to Obama, since he’s now available.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 25, 2017
Asked whether they have any serious intentions in mind by bringing up the petition, Barack admitted that it was meant ultimately as a joke.
“It is ultimately a joke. We want people to wake up in the morning and, rather than have to see our usual candidates, rejoice in seeing Obama’s face on the 500 posters we put up on the streets of Paris, and get away from the repeated scandals we are hearing about,” Barack said.
“The reaction from people has been brilliant. It’s what they want. The funniest thing is when people first thing it’s totally crazy, but then ask themselves, ‘Actually, why not?'”
— The Hill (@thehill) February 24, 2017
But although the petition was meant “ultimately as a joke,” the creators insisted that they have serious intentions.
“We want to show that people are fed up with the politicians here. People are tired about it and they like this joke. It gives people a little fun amid all these scandals,” one of the creators of the petition, identified as Antoine, told CNN.
They went on to explain that they took care while planning and setting up the petition to avoid using it to express personal partisan political views. But one of them, who identified as “Barack,” made it clear that he would not be voting for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
“We are so fed up with what Marine Le Pen is doing, and with the fact that we weren’t able to find a candidate to vote for, only one to vote against,” said Antoine. “We started talking about that and it came up that Obama is free — so why not hire him?”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 26, 2017
The political scandals involving several candidates in the upcoming French presidential elections have caused concern to French voters. Many French voters are concerned that daily news reports about new allegations of corruption, investigations and police raids, are distracting voters from policy debates. The chaotic nature of the process has contributed to a widespread sense of disillusionment among voters, according to the Guardian.
Many voters are also concerned about the emerging prominence of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
— The Independent (@Independent) February 24, 2017
According to the “Obama2017” website, the failure of the next presidential election is inevitable. The website thus called for voters to sign the petition as way of waking up other voters to the political crisis engulfing the country.
“The French are ready to make radical choices,” the website said. “That is good because we have a radical idea to propose to them.”
“After a phantom five-year-term and faced with the announced failure of the next presidential election, we think it is time to move to the sixth Republic to get France out of its lethargy. To launch this sixth Republic, we wish to strike a blow by electing a foreign president as the head of our beautiful country.”
The website then attempts to convince people to sign the petition by embellishing Obama’s record as president of the United States, and insisting that he “has the best CV for the job.”
French voters, according to the website, should sign the petition to “teach the world a lesson in democracy […] at a time when France is about to vote for the extreme right.”
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/AP Images]