Old political system in France was destroyed, but new one has not emerged yet, American expert suggested
France may be a step closer to leaving European Union even if Manuel Macron will be elected, Heather A. Conley, an expert in French politics in Center for Strategic and International Studies suggested. Conley stated that Macron addressing widespread populism and nationalism can only suppress it or confront it by addressing its grievances.
“If Macron like his predecessors, fails, his election will have temporarily suppressed populist impulses but as a consequence may unleash these forces fully in 2022” French politics expert warned.
French voters are convinced that neither Emmanuel Macron nor Marine Le Pen will be able to find solution for two most important country’s problems: unemployment and terrorist threat.
On Monday French moderate candidate called his rival right-wing nationalist Marie Le Pen “the anti-France candidate” laying paying a tribute to a young Moroccan man who drowned in the River Seine in Paris 22 years ago after being pushed into the water by skinheads on the fringes of a May Day rally by the FN, then led by Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie.
On the same day in Villepinte, a suburb north of the capital, Marine Le Pen told supporters: “Emmanuel Macron is just Francois Hollande who wants to stay and who is hanging on to power like a barnacle.” She called for France to reclaim its ‘independence’ from the EU but made no mention of her proposal to drop the euro, the least popular campaign promise.
Although CSIS expert Conley is convinced that statistically it is “highly improbable, if not impossible” for Marine Le Pen to win second round of elections nevertheless the French policy expert presents three scenarios of impossible.
If the May 3 televised debate of the candidates will be catastrophic for Macron and Le Pen performance influences public opinion in any meaningful way, she may win.
If Russian cyber activity against Macron becomes more intensive, Le Pen may significantly benefit.
A major terrorist attack may also strengthen voter’s trust in Le Pen program.
The third scenario presented by Conley may not be compatible with current thoughts of French voters on both candidates. According to the Ifop poll for the Journal du Dimanche, 36 percent of voters say neither candidate is able to protect France from attacks.
The results of the Ifop poll are not a good news for Macron who campaigned on his new economic solutions since 45 percent of voters believe the two finalists would not put an end to unemployment, which has for years stood close to 10 percent in France.
Consequently the support of French voters for a moderate candidate is shrinking. The momentum has recently been with Le Pen, who has clawed back about five percentage points over the past week. On Monday two opinion polls showed Macron winning what is widely seen as France’s most important election in decades with between 59 and 61 percent of the vote.
Conley emphasized that the defeat of French traditional political blocs the Socialists and Les Républicains which governed France caused nationalist-globalist chasm.
“The old system has been destroyed, but the new system has not yet begun to take shape”, French political expert concluded.