Opinion DC Comment 26 Apr 2017 France waits for May ...

France waits for May 7

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Apr 26, 2017, 12:30 am IST
Updated Apr 26, 2017, 7:08 am IST
France hasn’t been the centre of the world since the First Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Marine Le Pen
 Marine Le Pen

The sitting President wasn’t even in the race and all the candidates of mainstream parties were routed in the first round of the French presidential election. That left centrist Emmanuel Macron, heading the youthful En Marche movement, the narrow winner on Sunday, and the lone beacon of hope for liberal, pro-European reform in a nation riven by unemployment, social inequality and a persistent terror threat. “Frexit” is prominent among the many fears if the country elects Mr Macron’s opponent, Marine Le Pen of National Front (FN), in the May 7 run-off, which means there could be further disruption of European unity and more ground conceded to right-wing populism, that gained much ground after Donald Trump became America’s 45th President.

May 7’s big fight is seen as a contest between globalism, representing liberal values, and a sense of nationalism that has gained currency in the United States as well as India. It appears France’s Socialists, Left and centre-right are backing Mr Macron in the hope that he would stave off a lurch to the extreme right. But Ms Le Pen is unlikely to go down without a fight. Her popularity has already outstripped that of her father, who stood in the 2002 presidential race. Then there’s the fear that even if Ms Le Pen loses, her party could still make handsome gains in the June parliamentary polls. France hasn’t been the centre of the world since the First Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte. The world is left hoping the final result in France will help preserve the optimism of its liberal elements.

 

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