François Fillon failed to go beyond the first round of the presidential elections, but he could have a decisive role in the final stages of the presidential race. The Catholic vote might, at least in part, decide the future of French democracy. Although it is difficult to say precisely how much it weighs in terms of real consensus, in a country where any kind of religious census is forbidden. In any case, it’s a few million voters, between 3 and 5 million define themselves as “practicing Catholic.”
The point is that during François Hollande’s five-year term, a fierce minority Catholic community dominated the scene. This strongly conservative group, tied to the political right, seemed, at times, to speak on behalf of a much larger number of faithful. This is the circuit of groups and committees that gave birth to the movement of ”Manif pour tous” that opposed the same sex civil marriages law enacted in 2013.
This mobilization, which has often assumed an openly homophobic character and has even seen the convergence of violent sectors of the radical right, in addition to Sarkozy’s Républicains and National Front sectors close to the Midi representative Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, also founded an association, Sens commun, a sort of “pro-traditional family, anti-abortion and opposite to the gender ideology” lobby.