Macron could win if…by Giuseppe Terranova - 2017.04.24
With his first round victory, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s problems are just beginning. While he might be claiming that he is well on his way to winning the election, many tend to feel that his path is nothing less than a slippery slope. Or, better yet, a minefield. From this point on, one simple misstep could blow up the ambitions of the youngest possible head of the French Republic since Napoleon. To keep Marine Le Pen at bay, Macron needs to take into consideration at least 4 issues.
The first, the bipartisan endorsement that he received from both the Republicans of François Fillon and from socialists of Benoit Hamon (that in the history of the V Republic have never been excluded from the ballot) risks being a kiss of death. It could weaken the storytelling of the 39-year-old economist that despite his power- CV (Science-Po, Ena, Rotschild, Ministry of Economics) launched his candidacy as a relatively new face and outside of the usual, French political “box”, as a social reformist and without a party. And leader of a movement (En Marche!) among the least known, until a short time ago.
The second, contrary to the leader of the Front National, he cannot count on an extended network of local politicians/political machines. And given the miserable outcome of the socialists (6.2%), the support of the moderate Right François Fillon (19.7%) will be decisive. And, it might be difficult convincing his electorate to vote for an ex-minister from President Holland’s government, one of the most hated presidents over the last half-century.
The third, among all of the losers from yesterday’s election, the only “big” to not call upon his electorate to vote for Macron in the second round, was Jean-Luc Melanchon. Exponent of the true, die-hard Left, who emerged with a respectabe 19.5%, (not to be dismissed), comprised of a healthy slice of individuals who are disgusted and fed up with the existing governmental parties. A part of whom, could, in a best case scenario, choose to abstain from voting altogether, in the second round. And, in the worst case, might even vote blu-Marine.
The fourth, the lower the voter turn-out in the second round, the higher the probability of a victory for Marine Le Pen. The Holiday calendar could also favor abstention: voting is scheduled to take place on May 7th. However, May 8th is a holiday (victory of the Allied Forces in 1945) and French citizens have a long weekend. Even among the new, young Macron enthusiasts, there could be a sizable number who opt for the season’s first sunbathing opportunity.
Perhaps these are useless details, given that Emanuel Macron is such a decisive, precise man. For example, when still in high school (1994) he promised his theatre teacher that he would marry her. And, in 2007, against the advice of everyone around him, he did precisely that.
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