by Graham Pierrepoint
The French Presidential election is just a few days away now and it is occurring during one of the most contentious and intriguing political periods in recent history – following the surprise election of Donald Trump in the US, the UK choosing to leave the EU and a snap election having recently been decreed in the country, many are fearful that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen could buck trending polls to claim victory in France. However, with Centrist wildcard Emmanuel Macron, for En Marche!, ahead in the polls by a supposed 20 points, fears are perhaps not so heightened – though some political experts still advise that Le Pen could pull off a victory if turnout is low enough.
Macron, famously pro-EU, has in recent days made a statement with regard to where France sits in terms of membership with the Union. Le Pen is allegedly thought to be considering offering the country its own referendum – Frexit, perhaps – should she achieve office – and her rival has admitted that unless changes occur in the way that the EU is run, France could well seek to leave. Macron has advised the BBC that he would, on election, strive to reform the way in which the EU is run – or that the country could face division over a potential Frexit. Macron acknowledged that many citizens were angry about the way that the EU is being run – but will this necessarily mean that the country outright opts for exit from the Union?
Brexit, arguably, set a whole new precedent – the UK will be the first country to leave the EU voluntarily, and, as such, many other member states will be watching Brexit carefully to see just how successful and efficient departure can be – while the EU will be keen to not go easy on the country or risk other states going the same route. It will remain to be seen whether or not France will go the same route, and it will of course depend on who gets into power on May 7th.
With Le Pen supposedly gaining around 5 points in recent polls, Macron has few days left to maintain his lead – and how he will intend to reshape the EU will remain to be seen. One thing is for sure, however – we will soon learn what the future President of France, whoever they may be, has in mind for the future of the country in the coming weeks.