No political system on earth fears as much as that of France

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EVERYONE thinks their own political system sucks. But almost no system is as bad as the French system.

In the French system, the vote for president has not one, but two rounds.

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President Emmanuel Macron obtained almost 28% of the votes in the first round of votingCredit: Getty
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen came second with just over 23% of the vote

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Far-right leader Marine Le Pen came second with just over 23% of the voteCredit: Alamy

The two candidates who obtain the most votes in the first round must face each other in the second round.

In this weekend’s vote, current President Emmanuel Macron received nearly 28% of the vote, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen came second with just over 23% of the vote. .

They will therefore both advance to the second round.

This means that millions of French voters find themselves without a candidate in the next vote.

For example, Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Jeremy Corbyn of French politics, won 22% of the vote.

He therefore does not make the final round.

Which means that there, a fifth of the French electorate has no one to vote for.

Turns out it’s Groundhog Election Day again in French politics.

When France went to the polls in 2017, voters found themselves with Macron against Le Pen in the final round.

On that occasion, Macron easily beat Le Pen with nearly two-thirds of the final vote count.

Fast forward five years and it will again be Macron versus Le Pen.

It is precisely the second round that Macron will have hoped for.

He had more interesting challengers this time.

In France, the major left and right parties have shrunk to almost nothing in recent years.

The main right-wing party (the equivalent of our conservative party) did not even get 5% of the vote this time around.

Neither did the French equivalent of the Labor Party.

There has been a radical hollowing out at the center of French politics.

Right-wing French author Eric Zemmour seemed capable of upsetting the race at one point.

He challenged Macron from the right, but ended up with a respectable (but still not enough) seven percent of the vote.

Macron would have hated going against someone like Zemmour, who is smart.

SINISTER FAMILY

Marine Le Pen, on the other hand, will be a relatively easy challenge for Macron.

In French politics, the Le Pen family has a sinister and dynastic hold.

Marine has done a lot to distance herself from her father, even kicking him out of her party.

But the father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, is the ogre of French politics.

His own views are tinged with anti-Semitism and excuses for France’s role in World War II.

He represents an ugly strain in French politics. But this strain will not die out with him.

He’s still around, and the fact that the party he founded still seems to have to be led by a member of his family – even the one he fell out with – is troubling.

But it’s incredibly helpful for the political left and political centrists like Macron.

When Macron came to power five years ago, he did so as a true populist.

He came to the center of French politics, with a party of his own invention, La République En Marche.

His rise was so rapid that he didn’t even have a party structure or candidates in place until he won the election.

But he won the presidency in part because he said he wanted to shake things up.

In particular, he said he wanted to unleash the dynamism of France.

You could say it’s because of events beyond his control like the coronavirus and rising global prices.

LOW OPPOSITION

Or you could say it’s because Macron’s acting isn’t as good as his speech.

But no one could honestly say that the five years that Macron has been in power have done little more than tread water for the country.

All of the deep-rooted economic and social problems that Macron promised to solve remain.

Terrorist attacks have not ceased in the country.

There have been impassioned, often violent, protests from the Forgotten Workers Yellow Vests movement.

And none of the issues raised were resolved by Macron.

He could have – and should have – had a serious account this time at the polls.

But he won’t.

The far-left Melenchon has already told his voters not to transfer their votes to Le Pen in the next round.

And it seems almost certain that Macron will manage to get a lackluster left and right to back him once more.

All because he will say that a vote for Le Pen is a vote for extremism.

Whether he does or not, he will almost certainly win this argument.

Because it is the most comfortable argument that can be made in French politics.

He will win it again.

And forget at the same time that he speaks on behalf of an increasingly small part of the French electorate. while ruling over them.

You might have thought that France got rid of its monarchical system centuries ago.

Not enough.


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