The Economist - 270624






 After the election, populists of the right and left could hobble (entraver) a centrist president



But for snap (dissolution) élections on June 30th, this should have been a time for Paris to celebrate. Seldom has the City of Light sparkled so brightly. In a month, France’s capital will welcome the world to the 33rd Olympiad. Brand-new train lines will ferry athletes to gleaming new venues, carving through a place that has rediscovered its vibrancy. Once in danger of becoming a backwater (trou perdu) with some good museums but dated cuisine and a lot of graffiti, Paris is now a hub for tech companies and a banking centre that is starting to rival London as it draws talent and capital across the channel. Fusion food, bike lanes, international lycées, startup spaces, pop-up fashion: Paris is cool again. And not just Paris. Urban renewal, driven by a good mix of public investment and private enterprise, is sprouting in Lyon, Dijon, even once-grimy Lille.

Much of the credit belongs to Emmanuel Macron. His seven years as president have seen a sustained effort to remake France as a modern, business-friendly economy. He has reformed employment to encourage bosses to take on workers. Since he moved into the Elysée in 2017, 2m jobs have been created and over 6m businesses set up. He has cut business taxes, along with stifling (étouffant) wealth taxes. He has boosted education and started to reform the unaffordable pension system. France’s growth is above the euro-zone average, and poverty rates below it.

You might think voters would reward this record. Instead, Mr Macron’s Ensemble alliance is heading for humiliation on June 30th: one analyst puts its chance of forming a majority at 0%. As a result Mr Macron’s reforms could soon begin to unravel—and that reflects a problem for centrist incumbents everywhere. It was described best by Jean-Claude Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg and president of the European Commission: “We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

One reason for the backlash against Mr Macron is his own rash decision to call a snap parliamentary election for Sunday. That is three years earlier than he needed to and just three weeks after the hard-right opposition National Rally of Marine Le Pen walloped (bousculer) him at the European elections, normally seen as only a protest vote. Remarkably, his move has also united the fractious left-wing opposition, which runs from the traditional Socialist centre-left to the loopily radical Unsubmissive France party, led by a former Trotskyist. National Rally and the left-wing alliance, known as the New Popular Front, are polling first and second respectively. In a two-round contest, many of Mr Macron’s candidates are likely to be squeezed out of the race after the first round.

But poor timing cannot explain the central fact of this election. In spite of the benefits Mr Macron’s reforms have brought, French voters want to dismantle them. National Rally is set on reversing pension reform and restoring the wealth tax and promises to slash vat on energy bills and fuel. It also vows to crack down on migration, deport “Islamists”, ban the veil in public places and reintroduce border controls with other European Union countries. None of this chimes with the open climate for investment Mr Macron has created. Fiscal rigour has not been Mr Macron’s strong suit—France is running a 5% annual budget deficit and sitting on public debt worth some 110% of gdp—all the more reason to believe that the extra spending promised by the hard right would do serious damage to the economy. The hard-left New Popular Front is less likely to win power, but its platform would be even more harmful.

The most likely outcome, a hung parliament, will probably lead to reform slipping backwards. The rules mean that fresh elections cannot be called for at least a year and in that time France could have no government, no legislation, and perhaps no new budget. Mr Macron will remain president; his term does not end until 2027, at which point Ms Le Pen aims to succeed him. Although he has extensive executive powers in defence and foreign policy, he has limited ones on domestic policy, which is the preserve of the government, accountable to parliament. He may try to impose a technocratic government, but parliament could simply vote it out again. Reform needs constant pressure, but that would dissipate instantly.

The damage at home is likely to be exacerbated by the damage to Europe. The eu has seldom been so rudderless. Germany’s ruling coalition is at breaking point, all three of its parties beaten at the Euro-elections by the far-right Alternative for Germany, which was in alliance with Ms Le Pen until it got too ripe even for her. Olaf Scholz, the chancellor, has proved incapable of exercising leadership in Europe even on a good day, and there have not been many of those. The snag list is huge: Russia; eu expansion to stabilise the Balkans and underwrite Ukraine; keeping climate-change policies on track; migration. Nothing works in the eu unless it is driven by the Franco-German motor, but one of its cylinders is kaput and the other is foutu.

How has a president like Mr Macron, who has brought his country the fruits of reform, arrived at such a pass? In part, it is because Mr Juncker is right. It is customary to sneer at politicians, but being able to persuade voters that painful change is worth it is a misunderstood and hugely underrated virtue. In part it is because, while Paris and other big cities have thrived, much of France has not. Perceptions of inequality are driving politics to the hard right in much of the democratic world.

The fallacy of the missing middle

Mr Macron has also fallen into traps, some of his own making. The legacies of covid-19 and inflation make this a rotten time to face voters. One reason Mr Macron struggled to deal with them better is that he chose to construct an Olympian presidency. He believed that the power of the office could unite the country, but is instead seen as arrogant and out of touch. His other mistake was to leave no opposition in the centre ground. An axiom of democratic politics is that voters grow tired of incumbents. When they do, they will turn to the alternative. In France, as elsewhere, that alternative could do grave harm. ■


Je vais répondre à The Economist que le Président Macron sait évidemment que son parti ne pouvait arriver en tête des élections le 7 juillet. Son but est de montrer aux Français ce que serait le scénario de 2027 si les choses continuaient en l'état et si rien n'était fait d'ici là.

L'opinion, nourrie d'anti-macronisme absolu, se berce de l'illusion  du "on a tout essayé".

Sans réaliser:

1- que les deux partis extrêmes n'ont pas de programme sensé et

2- qu'un chaos social durable nous attend si l'un des deux gagne la Présidence.

Le Président Macron a certes pris un risque énorme, mais un risque positif.

Et la première étape est dans ce vote.

Faire prendre conscience à l'opinion que l'anti-macronisme a caché en fait la réalité des aspirations négatives de l'opposition de gauche et de droite.

Alors oui il faudra "tenir" pendant un an avant la prochaine dissolution. 

Les JO? L'extrême-gauche a prévu de semer le désordre, comme l'ont montré les manifestations violentes qui ont suivi les élections européennes. Mais petite différence: le maintien de l'ordre sera dans les mains du RN, possible vainqueur. C'est lui qui sera accusé du désordre.

Mais surtout, le Président va faire en sorte qu'apparaissent les dangers du repli, l'abdication vis à vis de la Russie, l'inutilité de la fermeture des frontières françaises à l'immigration, l'importance de l'Europe et d'un prochain emprunt européen pour financer les IMMENSES investissements auxquels nous devons faire face. Le rôle incontournable de l'Europe pour nous protéger. NOUS protéger, tous les pays membres de l'Europe, et notamment l'Allemagne... défense militaire, nucléaire, réindustrialisation, écologie, indépendance financière (marché européen des capitaux) ...

3 ans, le temps de la prise de conscience, le temps long en politique



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