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Macron first, second and third

Monday, 24 April, 2017

If you add Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s 19 percent to the 21 percent Marine Le Pen got in yesterday’s French presidential first-round vote, you have 40 percent of the electorate now radically opposed to “the system” of which Emmanuel Macron is a product and a symbol. Still, he will be elected president of France in a fortnight’s time says Arthur Goldhammer, writing in Prospect. Why? The youthful Macron has three main advantages over the hapless Hollande. Snippet:

“First, he did not pretend to be anything but what he is: a reformist social-liberal technocrat.

Second, he is not saddled with the baggage of 30 years of maneuvering among party factions and a hundred past compromises.

Finally, and most importantly, he has the knack of reassuring the Germans, who in my estimation have recognized that some modification in their approach to strict budgetary discipline is in order if the European Union is to be preserved, as they hope it will be because they have profited from it so handsomely. Regardless of whether Merkel or Schulz is the next German chancellor, the Germans will have found in Macron someone they can work with, and that is long overdue good news for Europe.”

Given the nature of the French administration, being president is a critical part of the constitutional puzzle, but governing is a very different story. Or, as they say in France: c’est une autre paire de manches.


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