Originally posted April 11, 2017.
UPDATE: Emmanuel Macron won 23.75% of the vote, in the first round of France’s presidential election, slightly ahead of Marine Le Pen who garnered 21.53%. The two will now meet once again in second round voting on May 7.
Debbie and I are on the ground in Paris today and the clear front runner here is pro-Europe independent Emmanuel Macron. His victory is probably the best current bet for the French. Macron is currently tied with National Front leader Marine Le Pen in first round voting, but polls indicate he’ll win a second round. The Wall Street Journal reports that Macron could be a solidification of a trend against the far right in Europe that has turned around a wave of success culminating in the vote by the U.K. to leave the EU.
The biggest risk to Mr. Macron may now come from the far left. Polls suggest a late surge in support for Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former Socialist party minister who is proposing a 100% tax on incomes above 20 times the national average, a 32-hour working week and pulling France out of NATO. Facing him in the second round offers Ms. Le Pen her best chance of victory. But with Mr. Melenchon support at 17%, still at least 6 percentage points adrift of Mr. Macron and Ms. Le Pen, this still seems an unlikely scenario. Berenberg Bank puts the probability at just 10%.
Mr. Macron is contributing to and benefiting from the remarkable turnaround in Europe’s fortunes since the start of the year. The economic and political risks that appeared to be overwhelming the continent in 2016 seem to have eased to an extent few believed possible in January.
Read more here.
Emmanuel Macron: ‘I’m not a naive optimist’ BBC News
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