Emmanuel Macron Wins Election in France

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”

French National Front Could Emerge Stronger from Defeat

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”

France Eyes Macron-Le Pen Runoff After First Voting Round

  • The French voted in the first round of their presidential election on Sunday.
  • The centrist Emmanuel Macron placed first with 24 percent support, followed by nationalist party leader Marine Le Pen at 21.3 percent.
  • The center-right Republican candidate, François Fillon, the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the ruling Socialist Party’s Benoît Hamon were eliminated from the contest.
  • A runoff between the two leading contenders is scheduled for Sunday, May 7.
  • Surveys show Macron beating Le Pen by a 20- to 30-point margin. Read more “France Eyes Macron-Le Pen Runoff After First Voting Round”

Neither Macron Nor Le Pen May Win Legislative Majority

The sun sets on the Bourbon Palace, seat of the French National Assembly, in Paris, June 8, 2007
The sun sets on the Bourbon Palace, seat of the French National Assembly, in Paris, June 8, 2007 (jrrosenberg)

Neither of the two frontrunners in the French presidential election is likely to win a majority in the National Assembly, which would make it hard for them to govern.

The centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen are neck and neck in the polls for the first voting round this month. Macron is expected to prevail in the second round. Read more “Neither Macron Nor Le Pen May Win Legislative Majority”

Hamon, Macron Face Putin Apologists in French Debate

Former French prime minister François Fillon attends a meeting with other European conservative leaders in Brussels, March 1, 2012
Former French prime minister François Fillon attends a meeting with other European conservative leaders in Brussels, March 1, 2012 (EPP)

Benoît Hamon and Emmanuel Macron don’t have a lot in common. The former wants to raise taxes in France in order to finance a universal basic income. The latter wants to cut taxes and reduce public spending.

Yet the two presidential candidates made common cause on Monday, when they faced three Putin apologists in the first televised debate of the 2017 campaign. Read more “Hamon, Macron Face Putin Apologists in French Debate”

Clinton-Trump Redux in France

After Britain voted to exit the European Union and America elected Donald Trump, the French ambassador to Washington DC, Gerard Araud, tweeted in despair: “A world is collapsing before our eyes.”

Now his home country has a chance to breathe new life into the liberal world order the English-speaking powers have turned their backs on.

After decades of statism, and five years of ineffectual Socialist Party rule, there is finally a critical mass for reform in France.

Brexit has also revived French enthusiasm for the European project. French support for the EU has shot up 10 points to 67 percent, according to an Ifop poll.

And Trump’s crude nationalism is showing the French the ugly reality of hysterical patriotism and anti-Muslim bigotry, both of which have been creeping up on them in recent years.

These three threads come together in the presidential candidacy of Emmanuel Macron. Read more “Clinton-Trump Redux in France”

The French Far Right’s Family Feud Explained

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Brussels, February 24 (European Parliament)

Politico reports that a long-simmering dispute between the two most prominent women of the French far right is getting out of hand.

There is even a risk of a split in the Front national, the website argues: between the faction of leader Marine Le Pen and the socially conservative wing that has rallied around her 26-year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen.

The fact that it’s a family feud, in which the Le Pen patriarch and Vichy apologist Jean-Marie inevitably resurfaces, makes this a headline-grabbing story.

But there are deeper, geographical and political divides at play that have less to do with personality. Read more “The French Far Right’s Family Feud Explained”

Trump’s European Admirers Are Deluding Themselves

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29, 2015
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29, 2015 (European Parliament)

Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential election in the United States has delighted his ideological counterparts in Europe. Brexiteers in the United Kingdom think he will give them a better deal than Hillary Clinton. Populists in France and the Netherlands have responded to Trump’s victory with glee. So have ultraconservatives in Central Europe.

They should think again. Trump may be a kindred spirit. His triumph is a setback for the liberal consensus that nationalists in Europe and North America are trying to tear down. But he is no friend of European nations. Read more “Trump’s European Admirers Are Deluding Themselves”

Sarkozy’s Republicans Defeat French Nationalists in Runoffs

Nicolas Sarkozy
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaks with other European conservative leaders in Brussels, June 25 (EPP)

France’s Front national failed to take control of any the country’s thirteen regions in an election on Sunday despite winning most votes in the first round last week.

Tactical voting by leftwingers was seen keeping the nationalists out of power in an Ifop exit poll. Read more “Sarkozy’s Republicans Defeat French Nationalists in Runoffs”