WHAT IT IS
- April 24, 2017: Round 1 of France’s Presidential Election.
- Four main contenders entered the first round, each representing vastly different political ideologies.
- Emmanuel Macron (centrist) and Marine Le Pen (nationalist) finished first and second in the first round with 23 percent and 21 percent respectively.
- Results were seen as a political earthquake, as the two candidates viewed as ‘non-political’ elites.
WHY IT MATTERS
Following the 2016 presidential elections in the U.S. and the Brexit vote in the U.K., this election is the best indicator to see if the populist/nationalist movement has any staying power in Europe. Moreover, if the nationalist Le Pen takes office, it could signal a complete dissolution of the European Union (EU).
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- Le Pen and Macron will be on the ballot for a second round of voting on May 7.
- With Macron and Le Pen, the French people will have a choice between a centrist independent and a far-right nationalist.
- Currently, Le Pen is in a deep hole (26 percent behind Macron) and faces extreme odds to winning in the runoff election on May 7.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
- Will either candidate focus more on economic issues (globalization and nationalism) or social issues?
- Would a victory for Le Pen mean the end of the E.U. as we know it? Could the E.U. survive without both the UK and France?
- Can Macron effectively govern having never held political office before?
- Is this election representative of a nationalist movement across the globe?