By: Jo Rochelle
American citizens bid former President Obama farewell in January, ending the eight years of his administration and ushering in a new president. It seems, however, that Obama’s time as political leader isn’t quite over yet. At least, not for some French citizens.
Obama2017 is a French guerrilla campaign trying to convince Obama to head to Paris. Could he really be their president? Not at all. But that hasn’t stopped them from launching a website and putting posters of Obama all around the city. Campaign leaders are trying to get one million followers to sign a petition to encourage Obama to run. So far, there are over 43,000 signatures.
French voters will hit the polls on April 23. Unless one candidate gets more than half of the votes, voters will return to the polls to select between the top two candidates on May 7. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen is currently ahead of the more moderate candidate, Francois Fillon, and centrist Emmanuel Macron. One organizer of Obama2017, who wished to be known only as Antoine, expressed his distaste on the matter. “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,” he told CNN. “We started talking about that and it came up that Obama is free — so why not hire him?”
While it is unlikely that Obama will play into the prank, it has provided a sense of hope for Parisians. According to the Obama2017 website, “It’s still possible to vote for a president and not against a candidate.” Another organizer of the prank campaign told BBC News, “We are anti-political, we are not against any candidate in particular, but we are not a big fan of any of them. [This campaign is] a way to say ‘Guys, eh wake up – you are uncool, and this campaign is uncool – we’d rather have Obama’.”