Barack Obama is ineligible to run for president of France, but a growing number of French voters wish he could compete in their upcoming presidential election.
Since Barack Obama is not a French citizen, he’s ineligible to run. That’s understood, but there’s a message behind the petition campaign. One of the Obama 2017 organizers told the BBC that their message to French candidates is this: “Hey guys, you really don’t make us dream.”
Barack Obama ignited a sense of optimism in 2008 that continues to inspire people on the other side of the Atlantic. The campaigners are using his “Yes, we can” message on posters, translated in French to, “Oui, on peut.”
French voters are going to the polls on April 23. If none of the candidates wins a majority, there will be a runoff between the two leading candidates on May 7.
The far-right’s Marine Le Pen, an anti-immigrant candidate who was seen at Trump Tower after the U.S. presidential election, is one of the top contenders.
According to the BBC, many expect that Le Pen will lead the first round of voting because her two main rivals, Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, will split the polls. She’s expected, however, to lose the runoff.
Uninspired by the field, many voters who signed the petition simply want to cast a ballot for—not against—a candidate.