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Tens of thousands of people are attempting to recruit Barack Obama as the new president—of France.
A group of four anonymous Parisians launched an “Obama 17” campaign to bring in America’s former president as a ringer in France’s upcoming presidential election.
The group began illegally hanging hundreds of posters all around Paris—a crime that can land perpetrators with a nearly $4,000 fine, reports BuzzFeed News—and launched an online petition that has garnered nearly 43,000 signatures. The group aims to gather at least 1 million signatures by March 15.
The petition website offers three primary reasons for petitioning Obama to take over leadership of France (translated by Google):
- Barack Obama has the best resume in the world for the job.
- Because it is still possible to vote for a President and not against a candidate.
- Because at a time when France is about to vote massively for the extreme right, we can still give a lesson of democracy to the planet by electing a French President, a foreigner.
The campaign comes amid a contentious presidential election campaign in France that, in some ways, mirrors the 2016 U.S. election. A member of the Obama 17 group told BuzzFeed that the five French candidates they have to choose from have all failed to inspire their support. And at least one, Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front party, echoes the isolationist populism espoused by President Donald Trump, with a campaign that vows to crack down on immigration and build 40,000 new prisons.
Another familiar twist: Russia is accused of carrying out cyberattacks intended to help Le Pen win the election.
Although Le Pen has maintained a lead in many polls, the most recent numbers show Emmanuel Macron, a centrist independent candidate, on track to win. You know, unless Obama throws his hat in the ring.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.