Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Stock Maket Trading Lesson - How to REALLY Trade Markets - 26th Nov 21
SILVER Price Trend Analysis - 26th Nov 21
Federal Reserve Asks Americans to Eat Soy “Meat” for Thanksgiving - 26th Nov 21
Is the S&P 500 Topping or Just Consolidating? - 26th Nov 21
Is a Bigger Drop in Gold Price Just Around the Corner? - 26th Nov 21
Financial Stocks ETF Sector XLF Pullback Sets Up A New $43.60 Upside Target - 26th Nov 21
A Couple of Things to Think About Before Buying Shares - 25th Nov 21
UK Best Fixed Rate Tariff Deal is to NOT FIX Gas and Electric Energy Tariffs During Winter 2021-22 - 25th Nov 21
Stock Market Begins it's Year End Seasonal Santa Rally - 24th Nov 21
How Silver Can Conquer $50+ in 2022 - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Betting on Hawkish Fed - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Elliott Wave Trend Forecast - 24th Nov 21
Your once-a-year All-Access Financial Markets Analysis Pass - 24th Nov 21
Did Zillow’s $300 million flop prove me wrong? - 24th Nov 21
Now Malaysian Drivers Renew Their Kurnia Car Insurance Online With Fincrew.my - 24th Nov 21
Gold / Silver Ratio - 23rd Nov 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Can We Get To 5500SPX In 2022? But 4440SPX Comes First - 23rd Nov 21
A Month-to-month breakdown of how Much Money Individuals are Spending on Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
S&P 500: Rallying Tech Stocks vs. Plummeting Oil Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
Like the Latest Bond Flick, the US Dollar Has No Time to Die - 23rd Nov 21
Why BITCOIN NEW ALL TIME HIGH Changes EVERYTHING! - 22nd Nov 21
Cannabis ETF MJ Basing & Volatility Patterns - 22nd Nov 21
The Most Important Lesson Learned from this COVID Pandemic - 22nd Nov 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 22nd Nov 21
UK Covid-19 Booster Jabs Moderna, Pfizer Are They Worth the Risk of Side effects, Illness? - 22nd Nov 21
US Dollar vs Yields vs Stock Market Trends - 20th Nov 21
Inflation Risk: Milton Friedman Would Buy Gold Right Now - 20th Nov 21
How to Determine if It’s Time for You to Outsource Your Packaging Requirements to a Contract Packer - 20th Nov 21
2 easy ways to play Facebook’s Metaverse Spending Spree - 20th Nov 21
Stock Market Margin Debt WARNING! - 19th Nov 21
Gold Mid-Tier Stocks Q3’21 Fundamentals - 19th Nov 21
Protect Your Wealth From PERMANENT Transitory Inflation - 19th Nov 21
Investors Expect High Inflation. Golden Inquisition Ahead? - 19th Nov 21
Will the Senate Confirm a Marxist to Oversee the U.S. Currency System? - 19th Nov 21
When Even Stock Market Bears Act Bullishly (What It May Mean) - 19th Nov 21
Chinese People do NOT Eat Dogs Newspeak - 18th Nov 21
CHINOBLE! Evergrande Reality Exposes China Fiction! - 18th Nov 21
Kondratieff Full-Season Stock Market Sector Rotation - 18th Nov 21
What Stock Market Trends Will Drive Through To 2022? - 18th Nov 21
How to Jump Start Your Motherboard Without a Power Button With Just a Screwdriver - 18th Nov 21
Bitcoin & Ethereum 2021 Trend - 18th Nov 21
FREE TRADE How to Get 2 FREE SHARES Fractional Investing Platform and ISA Specs - 18th Nov 21
Inflation Ain’t Transitory – But the Fed’s Credibility Is - 18th Nov 21
The real reason Facebook just went “all in” on the metaverse - 18th Nov 21
Biden Signs a Bill to Revive Infrastructure… and Gold! - 18th Nov 21
Silver vs US Dollar - 17th Nov 21
Silver Supply and Demand Balance - 17th Nov 21
Sentiment Speaks: This Stock Market Makes Absolutely No Sense - 17th Nov 21
Biden Spending to Build Back Stagflation - 17th Nov 21
Meshing Cryptocurrency Wealth Generation With Global Fiat Money Demise - 17th Nov 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Into Mid 2022 - 16th Nov 21
Stock Market Minor Cycle Correcting - 16th Nov 21
The INFLATION MEGA-TREND - Ripples of Deflation on an Ocean of Inflation! - 16th Nov 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Le Pen Shifts Political Landscape- The Rise of New French Gaullism 

Politics / France Apr 24, 2017 - 06:10 AM GMT

By: Dan_Steinbock

Politics

After the first round of the French presidential election, “center-right” Macron and “radical right” Le Pen are positioned for a face-off. However, the real story of the election is that Le Pen's agenda has shifted the political landscape toward new French Gaullism.

At the eve of the French election, A gunman opened fire on the Champs-Élysées, killing a police officer and wounding others, while the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Meanwhile, US observers explain the rise of Le Pen on the basis of the French industrial decline, while German observers see France sandwiched between extremists on the Left and the Right.


What both ignore is French frustration with the failed policies of both the pro-EU conservatives and socialists - and with US efforts to shape their electoral outcomes.

Before the vote, the leader of the Front National Marine Le Pen and the centrist Emmanuel Macron garnered about 23-25% in the polls. The two were followed by the center-right François Fillon (19%), whose ratings have been penalized by a funding scandal, and the radical left Jean-Luc Mélenchon (19%), whose ratings soared leaving behind socialist Benoît Hamon (9%), who failed to unite the left.

Since no candidate garnered absolute majority in the first round, the second round is critical.  With 75% of polling stations results in, Macron was leading (24%) with Le Pen (22%) close behind. Conservative Fillon was penalized by his public scandal; socialist Hamon by President Hollande’s socialists’ failures; and the left’s Mélenchon by the absence of institutional support.

Public facades versus financial interests in French election

Emmanuel Macron’s (40) stint in President Hollande’s socialist government as a business-friendly economy minister alienated most socialists while failing to win over most conservatives. As I have argued through the spring, French right, the business and conservatives can tolerate him as a unifying figure; media will portray him as a “centrist”; and Washington wants him in Elysee Palace. But in reality, he does not represent “center-right.”

Macron advocates a Clintonesque, Blairian “Third Way.” Yet, his platform movement En Marche! is a one-man’s façade, which is guided by Institut Montaigne’s corporate giants, including commercial real estate titan Unibail-Rodamco, banking behemoth BNP Paribas, and aerospace mammoth Safran. En Marche! is funded mainly by conservative interests.

Macron is the ultimate Europhile and federalist. He supports integration and structural reforms. In controversies about immigration, secularism, security and terrorism, he favors balancing acts.

In the past decade, Marine Le Pen (49) has “mainstreamed” FN away from the extremism. She supports traditional values, law and order, while opposing immigration and the EU. She wants to leave the Euro and a return to French franc. Despite her increasing middle-class and blue-collar support, she is typically portrayed as “far-right.” That does characterize her anti-immigration stance, but not her economic, social and foreign policies.

Born into privilege, François Fillon (63) represents conservative Republicans. As President Sarkozy’s premier, he undertook controversial labor and retirement reforms. He is a French Thatcherite. In foreign affairs, Fillon is tough about immigration and Islamic radicalism but sees the NATO expansion to Russia’s borders as a provocation.

Until recently, the third viable candidate was Benoît Hamon (49), a French socialist (PS), a youthful party bureaucrat with stints in the European Parliament and Hollande’s administration. He supports a basic income to all French citizens, and a 35-hour workweek. As the organized left saw too much socialism lite in Hamon, unions turned to the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, along with a great number of independents. The latter would like France to leave both the euro and NATO.

In the second-round of the presidential election, Macron has an overwhelming lead against Le Pen, even if the great number of undecided among the electorate suggests that last-minute upset is theoretically possible.

The new Élysee Palace

The real story of the French election is not whether the winner is Macron, but that Marine Le Pen has re-defined the winning agenda.

Domestically, the new president will struggle to push for (diluted) structural reforms with or without the consent of the unions. It will have a stricter view of immigration and a tougher stance against Islamic fundamentalism.

From center-right to center-left, France will also be more critical toward EU integration, and the euro. In Brussels, Macron is seen as a potential savior of France and the EU.

The EU federalists’ greatest fear is Le Pen’s quest to take France out of the Euro in 6 months, which would be followed by the redenomination of €1.7 trillion of French public debt into francs. In turn, Le Pen’s economic advisers argue that reintroducing a national currency would allow French franc to fall in value against the euro - which would lower France’s debt burden and permit competitive devaluation.

Le Pen believes in classic Gaullism, which stresses national sovereignty and unity, and Europe as autonomous from the superpowers, particularly the United States.

In foreign policy, the new president will be more cooperative with Russia and President Putin, from the Middle East to Ukraine and energy issues. While France may invest more in defense spending, Gaullism is predicated on greater skepticism toward the NATO and French national priorities.

Unlike Le Pen who wants more independence, or Fillon who believes in realpolitik, or anti-NATO Mélenchon, Macron is Washington’s favorite. Indeed, recent Wikileaks disclosures show that US intelligence agencies have engaged in spying campaigns in French elections since the early 2010s. In the past, they supported Sarkozy’s “democratic victory”; now they want Macron in the Élysee Palace.

That’s why, in the coming weeks, French conservative interests will rally behind Macron, while Le Pen will portrayed as “too risky” and “too dangerous” for “France and Europe.”

Economic erosion

Last summer, Holande’s socialist government was pitted against unions and the progressives, which fostered apprehension and fragmentation in the left. France cannot avoid the overhaul of its labor legislation in the future, but a socialist president cannot drive a neoliberal labor agenda. That’s the lesson of Hollande’s fall.

After half a decade of near-stagnation, French economy has benefited from a cyclical rebound, due to a more accommodating external environment, a depreciated euro, record low interest rates and the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing. Nevertheless, these shifts cannot compensate for France’s historical rigidities, which overshadow the economy’s medium-term potential.

In the 1980s and 90s, French growth exceeded 2.2 percent. Now it is 1.1 percent and likely to decelerate to less than 1 percent by early 2020s. Yet, French real wage growth has been solid, despite declining productivity growth. That’s unsustainable. French economy is penalizing future generations for its current distortions.

If the French choose Macron in the second round, he is likely to share the fate of his heroes, Tony Blair and the Clintons; initial excitement followed by disillusion and resentment. If, on the other hand, the French will opt for a last-minute upset, multi-speed Europe - the idea that different parts of the European Union should integrate at different levels and pace - will accelerate.

If the international environment turns more challenging and reforms fail to proceed domestically, French banks, given their size and interconnectedness, could generate adverse effects not just domestically but through spillovers, especially in Italy and emerging Europe.

If the world’s sixth largest economy begins to shake, Italy cannot avoid a quake, ailing Eastern Europe could take multiple hits and repercussions would be global.

Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognised expert of the nascent multipolar world. He is the CEO of Difference Group and has served as Research Director at the India, China and America Institute (USA) and visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Centre (Singapore). For more, see www.differencegroup.net   

© 2017 Copyright Dan Steinbock - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in