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Low housing, high inflation spell election issues in France

French President Emmanuel Macron

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

Ever since the Great Recession began, decreased purchasing power has been the number one complaint of French voters. Because one in four Frenchmen suffers from a serious housing problem. Emmanuel Macron made better and more housing a central plank of his 2017 presidential campaign.

Today, inflation just hit record highs in France and across the Eurozone, and housing has become even more expensive during the coronavirus crisis.

A recent poll showed that three out of every four French people has already felt their purchasing power diminish, and 90 percent of the nation is concerned about it. While the elite may be able to pay higher costs, it’s clear that the rest of France is worried.

Top NGOs and some unions gathered in Paris to warn all candidates that recent years have seen untold socioeconomic damage which could result in more political upheavals.

Affordable housing has long-established fixes: write laws which favor tenants and not landlords, put more tax revenue into building new housing, and create more shelters for those with emergency needs. The Macron era has implemented none of these solutions, which has allowed the price of real estate to cross the record of 10,000 euros per square meter in Paris and 3,000 euros nationwide.

Inflated or not real estate must be heated in winter, and record energy prices has the government already admitting they are worried about the “social fallout” which soaring prices could cause, as in 2018 with the Yellow Vests.

Some believe that housing is for living in and some believe that housing is for investment speculation, but in a French election dominated by right-wingers the leading candidates will be forced to at least pay lip service to the idea of state-sponsored remedies to soaring prices.

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