François Fillon’s personal scandals are not the only reason he came in third in the first round of France’s presidential voting. Don’t forget, voters rejected the ruling Socialists (Hollande’s party) along with center-right Les Republicains candidate Fillon. Voters also have not forgotten the empty promises and failures of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s six years ago.
France politically is in a bad place, writes Charles C. W. Cooke in NRO.
Under Hollande’s feckless leadership, the country has been attacked from both without and within and seen an average of 1 percent growth for almost half a decade. Unemployment among 15-to-24-year-olds is now at a staggering 25 percent and has led to an exodus that has rendered London the sixth-largest French-speaking city in the world. The reflexively proud French are no longer sure that they have a future. They are afraid for their economy. They are afraid of immigration. They are afraid of technology. There is, almost everywhere you go, a tangible sense of ennui. It is an uncertainty that does not suit the people that produced de Gaulle.
The mainstream parties have mismanaged the French economy for the last 15 years. France rapidly has been losing its share of the global market and, in terms of technology, cannot keep pace with, for example, Germany, especially in the auto industry. Of the challenge facing M. Macron before 7 May? The WSJ’s Review & Outlook warns that Macron needs to present a “credible vision and program for an economically prosperous and confident France that is no longer the sick man of Europe.”
Emmanuel Macron, basically a rose-colored-glass optimist, has yet to do so. Far from it. And Marine Le Pen, who has announced that she is stepping aside as leader of her Front National (FN) party, is not dead yet.