Macron Wins French Presidency In A Landslide

Polls predicted Emmanuel Macron would emerge triumphant in the French presidential runoff, but the polls underestimated his wide margin of victory. The En Marche! candidate defeated nationalist Marine Le Pen by 66 to 34 percent and is on his way to the Elysée Palace.

Le Pen’s loss is not just a defeat for the National Front, but for right-wing French populism as a whole. The Sunday results also mark the third consecutive loss for nationalists parties in Europe – with some suggesting the populists momentum that brought forward Brexit and President Trump may be slowing to a halt.

The opposing themes of the Macron and Le Pen camps could not have been more stark. French voters had a clear choice between a globalist or nationalist direction. Macron, a former investment banker, campaigned unabashedly in support of the European Union and of the euro currency. He mostly refused to take a tough tone on Muslim immigration into the country, or the extremist elements that come with it.

Le Pen crusaded audaciously on a “France First” theme – even referencing Trump’s ascension to the White House numerous times. She called for a full return to the Franc currency and a referendum on France’s membership in the EU. Perhaps the most notable position of Le Pen: a  tough line against Islamic extremism and immigration. Their nation has been plagued with a series of terror-related attacks, making her rise in popularity unsurprising to many.

Despite record low turnout, French voters made their choice loud and clear.

While losing handily, Le Pen can find solace in the fact that her party performed better than ever before in its history. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, made it to the second round of the 2002 French presidential election, but lost to Jacques Chirac 82 to 18 percent – the widest margin of defeat in any French presidential election.

In her concession speech, Le Pen promised the National Front would be the “main opposition” to Macron’s upcoming administration. Her party will execute a postmortem to fully understand why her candidacy failed and what they can do to perform better in the future. Le Pen even alluded to a name change for the National Front.

What happens now?

The political season isn’t over for the European country. French voters will head to the polls yet again for Parliamentary elections in June, and Macron could easily become just a figurehead if he doesn’t have the necessary support from the National Assembly.

One major problem for the newly elected president: his party is barely a year old. En Marche! carries with it no institutional foundation. Unlike the wave of support he received from mainstream political parties during the second round of presidential voting, a lot of these same parties will be fielding their own MP candidates and will be directly campaigning against him.

Macron needs 298 deputies to have control of the lower house of parliament. Will this majority arise directly form En Marche! members, a coalition of Républicains and Socialists or a little bit of both?

Macron really doesn’t know yet.

He still appears unsure if he wants his nascent En Marche! party to become an actual “Party.” On the campaign trail, he has called for En Marche! candidates to be political newcomers, diverse and made up of 50 percent women.

If polls hold steady, the center-right is expected to do very well in June. The Républicains are expected to gain seats along with new En Marche! candidates. The Socialist Party is expected to collapse, and Le Pen’s National Front could win up to 25 seats.

The makeup of the National Assembly will prove pivotal in how the newly-elected leader will run the country.

Emmanuel Macron may have the presidential election in his rear view mirror, but rough roads still lay ahead.

 

Photo by Lorie Shaull via: freeforcommercialuse.org

 

 

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Polls Show A Conservative Landslide In UK Snap Elections

The complexities of negotiating Brexit have not been easy for Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative-led government.  Every Party has its own idea of how a proper exit from the EU should be done – some still don’t even want to leave. Such disagreement over Brexit talks has left Westminster in political disarray.

Because of this, PM May has called for a special “snap” election to be held. The election is meant to give the winner a mandate to lead the United Kingdom during the rough road ahead that will be divorcing the EU.

The election will be held on June 8 and, if current polls keep pace, the Conservative Party is positioned for major gains.

The Conservatives currently hold a slim majority in The House of Commons – 330 of the 650 seats. After the shellacking they took in the 2015 elections, Labour Party now holds around 100 fewer seats than their Tory colleagues. Unfortunately for Labour, polls indicate them fairing even worse in the upcoming snap election. A recent ICM poll shows Conservatives boasting a 22-point lead over Labour.

Why are the Tories polling so much better than Labour? Most experts are pointing to the differences of their respective leaders: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

During her announcement of the snap election, PM May pushed a theme of stability from her Conservative government. She used (and has continued to use on the campaign trail) the phrase “strong and stable leadership.” This message has clearly resonated with Britons as polls cite her as more fit to lead the UK during Brexit negotiations.

On the other hand, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is consistently viewed as incapable and unfit to lead the nation as prime minister. In fact, his own party is fractured over his leadership. The execution of this special election may not bode well for his party. Labour is currently polling at historic lows. Despite this, Corbyn swears he will score an upset victory by means of an insurgent campaign.

Besides Labour and Conservative, there are other parties in play. Nicola Sturgeon leads the Scottish National Party and Tim Farron heads the Liberal Democrats. Both are ready to rumble and believe this election to be an opportunity to make gains in the House of Commons.

Following the defeat for Scottish independence, the Scottish National Party arose from its ashes. The SNP made major gains in the 2015 elections – making them the third largest party behind the Tories and Labour. The Lib Dems, on the other hand, had their worst showing in years. They now only hold 9 seats. Unfortunately for SNP and Lib Dems, both parties don’t seem to be resonating with voters. One latest poll even shows the SNP losing up to 10 seats to the Conservatives.

Barring any major game changes, June 8 should be a very happy day for Prime Minister May.

Campaign Daily Rating: Safe Tory

 

Photo by U.S. Embassy London via: freeforcommercialuse.org

 

 

 

Macron And Le Pen Go Head To Head

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen placed in the top two, respectively, in the first round of round of the French presidential election. Macron came in with 23.9 percent of the total vote and Le Pen finished a close second with 21.4 percent.

Their victories mark the first time in many years in which a mainstream political party has failed to enter the second round of voting. The Republicans’ Francois Fillon and the Socialist Party’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon came at a very close third and fourth, but nevertheless did not make the cut.

With two political parties outside the “mainstream” entering the second round, one thing is glaringly obvious among French voters: They are tired of the status quo.

However, despite National Front’s Marine Le Pen and En Marche!’s Emmanuel Macron both having an outsider image, their vision for France could not be farther apart.

Dubbed by some as the “French Donald Trump,” Marine Le Pen has rode a wave of rising French nationalism. She has campaigned heavily on protecting the country’s jobs from globalization, holding a referendum on France’s European Union membership and calling for stricter immigration policies amid rising Islamic terror threats.

Macron’s stances could not appear to be more opposite. A former investment banker, he has spoken strongly in favor of free trade, supports EU membership and does not share Le Pen’s concerns over Islamic radicalism. Despite lacking establishment support for the majority of the campaign, Macron and his En Marche! party have now received the backing of major French politicians – as he is seen as the only means of preventing Le Pen from becoming president. In their concession speeches, several failed presidential candidates announced their support for Macron.

Who will win between the two?

Polling does not appear good for Le Pen. Polls correctly showed her making it to the second round. They now indicate her losing badly to Macron. A Harris poll conducted on Sunday shows Macron sailing ahead of Le Pen 64 to 34 percent – with other polls showing similar results. Le Pen has made a last-minute decision to step down as leader of the National Front – a symbolic move to appear above the political fray and to appeal to a broader base of voters.

Looking at the results of the first round, it is hard not to make comparisons to the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Macron scored highly among the rich and highly educated, whereas Le Pen found strong support in the more rural, less educated districts. Blue collar workers enjoyed Le Pen’s rhetoric of “France First” and her opposition to deregulation. The candidates’ opposing stances on free trade and globalization resulted in similar bastions of support to that of the American electorate.

For Le Pen’s sake, she better hope current polling is as wrong it was for the 2016 election. She will need to ride a wave of insurgency if she hopes to prevail against a mounting political establishment come May 7.

 

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Uncertainty Looms In Final Stretch Of French Election

There is only one week left until French citizens head to the polls for the first round of voting in their country’s presidential election. National Front’s Marine Le Pen and En Marche!’s Emmanuel Macron are expected to make it to the second round.

There are officially 11 candidates vying for the same office. One in four French voters still say there are undecided – making this race one of the most unpredictable in decades. Polling indicates a tight race between Le Pen and Macron for the first round, but also show Macron leading in the second round of voting.

The tales of the two leading parties are descriptions of meteoric rises from obscurity.

The National Front was long considered a fringe, far-right party with flirtations with racism, anti-Semitism and ant-immigration sentiment. The Party was founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen – who was labeled a “demon” by French media. However, things changed considerably for the National Front when his daughter, Marine Le Pen, took over in 2011. She began a campaign of softening The Party’s image in an attempt to appeal to a broader base.

How serious was she in reforming the National Front? She kicked her own father (The Party’s founder and leader for decades) out for insensitive remarks. This strategy of “normalizing” the National Front, and a spike in Islamic terrorist attacks in the country, have led to a surge in support. For the first time since its inception, the National Front is within striking distance of occupying the Élysée Palace.

If this sudden surge in party appeal is impressive – En Marche!’s story will be stunning.

Emmanuel Macron was a member of the Socialist Party before branching off to form his own, new party – En Marche! (meaning: Let’s Go!). He made a career in investment banking and has never held public office before. In 2014, he was appointed as France’s economic minister by President Francois Hollande.

How new is En Marche!? …Macron founded the Party just last year.

Since that time, his Party has done what every expert believed to be impossible and has surged into the political mainstream. Macron labels the party as more-or-less a centrist one, with moderate stances on the economy, the EU and immigration. The Party’s backbone is made up of a volunteer army that has propelled it into relevancy – many of them young and disillusioned with the status quo of mainstream French politics.

What are the big differences between Le Pen and Macron?

The election between the two has certainly been dubbed a globalist-vs-nationalist battle. Le Pen has even called Macron’s policies “savage globalization.” Macron supports France’s membership in the EU and is unabashedly pro-immigration. Conversely, Le Pen has vowed to hold a referendum of France’s EU membership and has made immigration skepticism a backbone of her campaign.

With about a week until the first round of voting begins, Le Pen is polling at 23 percent and Macron at 22 percent. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the center-right  François Fillon are only polling a few points behind, so this could still be anybody’s game between the top four. Numbers show a last-minute surge for Melenchon, whereas Fillon has fallen flat in recent days due to a public funding scandal.

Unfortunately for Le Pen, she appears to poll poorly in second matchups to the other three. She will more-than-likely make it past the first round, but not progress any further.

 

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