After Landslide, Macron’s Challenge Lies in Forgotten France

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
French president Emmanuel Macron greets Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, June 16
French president Emmanuel Macron greets Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, June 16 (La Moncloa)

French president Emmanuel Macron has won a comfortable majority for his centrist party, La République En Marche!, but low turnout points to the difficult task ahead: convincing the less prosperous half of France to give him a chance. Read more “After Landslide, Macron’s Challenge Lies in Forgotten France”

Macron Projected to Win Comfortable Majority in French Election

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
French president Emmanuel Macron speaks with Xavier Bettel and Justin Trudeau, the prime ministers of Luxembourg and Canada, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25
French president Emmanuel Macron speaks with Xavier Bettel and Justin Trudeau, the prime ministers of Luxembourg and Canada, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25 (NATO)

France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, is projected to win a comfortable majority for his centrist party, La République en March, in the legislative elections this weekend and next.

Most polls have En Marche hovering north of 30 percent support for the first voting round on Sunday.

The center-right Republicans are in second place with around 20 percent support, followed by the far-right National Front at 18 percent. Read more “Macron Projected to Win Comfortable Majority in French Election”

After Presidential Defeat, French Parties Divided

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Martin Schulz Benoît Hamon
German Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz and the French Socialist Party’s Benoît Hamon deliver a news conference in Berlin, March 28 (Facebook)

Neither of France’s two major political parties was able to get their candidate into the second voting round of the presidential election last week. That failure, without precedent in the history of the Fifth Republic, has plunged them both into a deep crisis.

The situation is worst in the Socialist Party, which has lost the presidency and is almost certain to lose its majority in the National Assembly next month.

The party’s failed candidate, Benoît Hamon, has announced the start of a new left-wing “movement” despite winning just over 6 percent support in the first presidential voting round.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who placed fourth with 20 percent support, has called on Hamon to join him.

The two leftists failed to do a deal during the presidential contest. Two things have changed: Hamon may no longer feel he owes loyalty to a party that failed to unite behind him and Mélenchon has lost the backing of the French Communist Party. It is fielding candidates against his La France insoumise in the legislative elections in June, splitting the far-left vote. Read more “After Presidential Defeat, French Parties Divided”

French System Encourages Temporary, Not Permanent, Polarization

Explainer

Steve KellerSteve Kelleris an American political analyst.
French National Assembly Paris
The sun sets on the Bourbon Palace, seat of the French National Assembly, in Paris, June 8, 2007 (jrrosenberg)

Matt Yglesias of Vox points out on Twitter:

You see in Trump vs Le Pen once again that authoritarian nationalist movements only win with the support of the establishment right.

There are two particular reasons why this may be the case. Read more “French System Encourages Temporary, Not Permanent, Polarization”

Emmanuel Macron Wins Election in France

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Atlantic SentinelAtlantic Sentinelis a transatlantic opinion website.
Emmanuel Macron
Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron changes his tie on a train, December 31, 2016 (Facebook)
  • Emmanuel Macron, France’s former economy minister, has defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen with 66 to 34 percent support.
  • Macron is slated to be inaugurated as the eighth president of the Fifth Republic next week. He will serve a five-year term.
  • His next test will come in June, when France holds parliamentary elections. Macron’s centrist party, En Marche!, has no seats in the National Assembly. Read more “Emmanuel Macron Wins Election in France”

France Likely to Dial Down Relations with Qatar After Election

Analysis

Joseph HammondJoseph Hammondis a former Cairo Correspondent for Radio Free Europe.
Doha Qatar
Tilt-shift perspective of Doha, Qatar, May 21, 2010 (Joey Gannon)

The cozy relationship enjoyed between France and Qatar may come to an end after the election on Sunday. Both Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have bashed the Persian Gulf state on the campaign trail.

“I will put an end to the agreements that favor Qatar in France,” Macron, the frontrunner, said last month. “I think there was a lot of complacencies, during Nicolas Sarkozy’s five-year term in particular.”

Sarkozy, a conservative, intensified cooperation with Qatar. His left-wing successor, François Hollande, did not reverse the policy.

Macron, a former economy minister under Hollande, has pledged to demand that Western allies in the Middle East, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, show a “new transparency as to their role in financing or other actions regarding terrorist groups that are our enemies.” Read more “France Likely to Dial Down Relations with Qatar After Election”

Mélenchon Supporters Could Make Same Mistake as American Left

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
France's Jean-Luc Mélenchon gives a speech in the European Parliament in Brussels, November 11, 2015
France’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon gives a speech in the European Parliament in Brussels, November 11, 2015 (European Parliament)

Supporters of the far-left presidential candidate in France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, are about to make the same mistake as some of Bernie Sanders’ supporters when they sat out the most recent election in the United States.

Of those who backed Mélenchon in the first voting round last month, only 29 percent intend to support Emmanuel Macron, the center-left candidate who defeated him, a survey has found. Read more “Mélenchon Supporters Could Make Same Mistake as American Left”

French Presidential Election Reveals a Divided Nation

Top Story

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in downtown Paris, France in early evening, March 13, 2011 (Flickr/Aeror)
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in downtown Paris, France in early evening, March 13, 2011 (Flickr/Aeror)

The first round of the French presidential election on Sunday laid bare many of the same cleavages that have opened up in other Western democracies recently.

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist former economy minister and the favorite to prevail in the second voting round in May, drew most of his support from the big cities and the prosperous west of the country.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the nativist National Front, came in second overall but placed first across the economically depressed north of France and in the socially conservative southeast. Read more “French Presidential Election Reveals a Divided Nation”

French National Front Could Emerge Stronger from Defeat

Analysis

Shaun RiordanShaun Riordanis a former British diplomat.
Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front national, listens to a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 1, 2014
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, listens to a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 1, 2014 (Wikimedia Commons/Claude Truong-Ngoc)

From a European point of view, the French have avoided the nightmare outcome of a presidential runoff between Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. But Europe’s political elite should not celebrate too soon.

It is more than probable that Emmanuel Macron will beat Le Pen in the second voting round, yet this might be the best possible outcome for the leader of the National Front.

As Donald Trump is discovering in America, it is often more fun to be the populist outsider than to be in power. A President Le Pen would have limited scope for causing foreign-policy chaos, but, with a massive majority against her in the National Assembly, she would have little prospect of delivering on her electoral promises. Her administration would almost certainly end in failure and the Front National would once again be relegated to the fringes of French politics. Read more “French National Front Could Emerge Stronger from Defeat”