Obama 2017? 50,000 French people want him as president

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 07 2017 07:18 AM

"Obama 17" poster in Paris promotes a call for the former US leader to run in the French presidential election. Martin Bureau, AFP

PARIS - Fed up with their own presidential candidates, a group of French voters has had the audacity to hope that Barack Obama could run for the Elysee Palace.

A French petition calling for the former US president to enter the race for the French presidency has gathered more than 48,000 signatures.

The charismatic Obama's signature smile has also popped up across Paris in tri-colour posters with his iconic 2008 slogan "Yes We Can" translated into French ("Oui on peut").

"We realized that Obama was available at the end of his second mandate, so we thought, well, why couldn't he be the next French president?" one organizer told AFP, asking not to be named.

Their only problem? He's not a French citizen.

Some organizers say they hope to garner the support of one million people and have their proposal examined by the National Assembly, opening up the possibility of offering Obama French citizenship.

But another admits it's "all a big joke."

"But it also has a meaning, since we notice that voters don't identify with the current candidates in France, and we can only vote against someone instead of voting for someone," he added.

Polls currently suggest independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are the current frontrunners.

Both are running campaigns against France's political establishment at a time when former favorite, rightwing candidate Francois Fillon, is embroiled in a fake jobs scandal.