Editorial Exchange: French Election: Discontent, Baggage and Re-Alignment (Halifax Chronicle Herald)

The Canadian Press, May 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Editorial Exchange: French Election: Discontent, Baggage and Re-Alignment (Halifax Chronicle Herald)


Editorial Exchange: French election: discontent, baggage and re-alignment

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An editorial from the Halifax Chronicle Herald, published May 9:

French election: discontent, baggage and re-alignment

Emmanuel Macron beat Marine Le Pen in Sunday's run-off presidential election.

Macron won by the wide margin of 66 per cent to 34 per cent of the popular vote.

I see two lessons from this outcome.

First of all, one third of French voters either abstained or turned in blank ballots. The turnout of about 75 per cent was the worst since 1969.

These are by definition not happy campers.

Most are probably left-wing people, especially those who voted for Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round.

They are unhappy with Macron's globalist, big-business vision, but they would not cast a ballot for a perceived fascist.

Of those who did cast ballots, more than one third supported a far-right party linked by its opponents to anti-Semitism, xenophobia, the collaborationist Second World War Vichy regime and so on.

This couldn't have happened without the post-2008 economic crisis in Europe that is making so many people desperate.

Macron won by a landslide in Paris and its affluent suburbs.

But Le Pen's anti-globalization platform was popular in places where de-industrialization has led to high poverty, low wages and unemployment.

It's a warning the election victors would be wise not to ignore as they celebrate.

Secondly, if an anti-globalist, anti-European Union party wants to win the next French presidential election five years from now -- assuming Macron doesn't do much to improve things -- the National Front needs to be dissolved. …

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