France has just past its first round of voting and the results indicated that Emmanuel Macron is in the lead. Marine Le Penn as leader of the National Front but now running as an independent candidate came in second trailing by 26 points behind Macron. The current President Francois Hollande couldn’t get his party’s nomination for a second term. So the radical politician Jeun-Luc Melenchon took his place.
He and Conservative Candidate François Fillon have lost in the first round among other candidates. Le Penn who wants to take France out of the European Union and restrict immigration is widely popular amongst those Frenchmen who fear their culture and society is been displaced.
On the other hand, Macron is a Centrist Candidate who supports maintaining EU member ship and keeping France’s borders wide open to immigrants.
Macron’s major strong point is his views on the economy, having been a former investment banker and a man with an elite education. He is married to his former High School teacher 26 years senior and is popular amongst the business class who want France to remain part of the European Free Trade Zone. This is so they can maintain the free flow of goods, people and services between through France and its neighbours.
Meanwhile, Marine Le Penn is a populist politician who wants to see France end its Fealty to Brussels. She wants to preserve French culture and replace the EU with a Europe of cooperation. She has however distanced herself from her father Jean Le Penn who founded the Party. He is now expelled due to saying that the Holocaust “was a detail of history”. This was clearly a move by Le Penn to downplay the Party’s alleged ant- Semitism.
So as French voters head for the second round of the Presidential Election they are faced with the prospect of choosing one of the two candidates. Marine Le Penn as a politician may appear to be too far to the right and her policies may be to the detriment of the French economy. Macron on the other hand a “centrist” candidate is ideal to unite the parties on both the left and the right in a United “Republican Front” against Le Penn.
Macron’s platform is based on economic liberalism, a reformed France and a more flexible European Union, while Le Penn threatens to take France out of the block, which would in effect mean breaking it over her knee.
Jean Claude Junker, the President of the European Union Commission broke Protocol to congratulate Macron and wished him to continue success, as did Germany’s Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who had stated that “He would be a great president”.
The latest election shows just how much the future of the European project hangs by a thread. If Le Penn were to become President of France her decision to hold a referendum on the country’s future EU membership, similar to what happened in the United Kingdom could have terrible consequences for the 27 member nation bloc. European politics is at best precarious. Whoever holds the office could determine the future of the global markets and the faith of the single currency, the Euro.
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