First Brexit. Then Trump. Now (gasp) France? French voters have spoken and they’ve tossed the country’s political mainstream to the curb. For the first time in modern history, the establishment politicians will be watching the runoff election from the sidelines; a centrist, Emmanuel Macron faced off with a populist, Marine Le Pen, in the May 7 race. Macron won capturing almost 66 of the vote. Macron NEVER held a political office before. Who does that sound like?
There were 11 candidates in the first round. No one got a majority, so the top two advance. French presidents have very broad powers. They are elected for a five year term, with a two-term limit.
Francois Hollande is the current Socialist president and didn’t even come close. Traditional French parties are now viewed as racist and anti-Semitic by voters, and it’s clear that the “system” is no longer working in France. The two mainstream parties were rejected—bigtime—voter turnout was very high at 78 percent.
President Elect Emmanuel Macron is relatively unknown. He has never held an elected political office and founded his own political movement less than a year ago. Le Pen is not new to the political scene. She ran five years ago and received 18 percent of the vote. Her father Jean-Marie founded the Front National party and advanced to the 2002 presidential runoff, but was defeated by Jacques Chirac.
Interestingly, Le Pen and Macron could not be more different. Le Pen attempted to be “Trumpesque” with a “France First” platform of closed borders, less immigration, tough security, and ditching the Euro for a return to the franc national currency. Macron is the polar opposite, and paints an open-bordered, tolerant France who is united with Europe.
European stock markets surged when the primary results were late last month.
To be sure, there were protesters who wanted neither candidate; they reacted by burning cars, dancing around bonfires, and eluding riot police. Police detained twenty-nine people at the Bastille. Hmmm…it seems the temper tantrums are a global issue.
The French tossed out mainstream politicians and elected Macron, just as the U.S. voted in President Trump. Interesting that both Presidents NEVER held a political office before running for President. Its a testament to both the French and Americans people that are sick of politicians and they want a change.