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French Voters Petition For Obama To Run In Election

| by Alex Scarr

A petition in France in support of former U.S. President Barack Obama to become the country's next president has gathered 30,000 signatures. Obama finished his second and final term as U.S. president on Jan. 21.

The petition was started by four voters who were displeased with the current state of French politics and the scandals that have occurred in this election season, according to the Independent. They also noted their concern about the country's far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, who is currently leading in polls.

Like the U.S., France requires its president to be a citizen of the country, but Obama is not. France does not require its president to be "natural-born" at the U.S. does.

The four voters who started the petition said it was originally a joke, meant to add levity to a situation they felt unpleasant.

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"It is ultimately a joke," one of the founders, who identified himself as "Barack," said. "We want people to wake up in the morning and, rather than have to see our usual candidates, rejoice in seeing Obama's face on the 500 posters we put up on the streets of Paris and get away from the repeated scandals we are hearing about."

Public reception, the founders say, has been mostly positive. "The reaction from people has been brilliant. It's what they want. The funniest thing is when people first think it's totally crazy, but then ask themselves: 'Actually, why not?'"

The website set up for the "Obama17" campaign, which has no connection to Obama himself, says he has "the best resume in the world for the job," reports ABC News.

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"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," reads the website. 

The French election begins its first wave of voting April 23. If a candidate fails to win a majority, a runoff election between the top two candidates will take place May 7.

Sources: Independent, ABC News, Obama17 / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Obama17

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