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Either out of disillusionment about this failure or under a preordained plan, in 2016 Macron launched his own political movement, En Marche! (Forward!), which featured his own initials. In rapid succession, he suggested he had never been a socialist, claimed to be of neither Right nor Left, and declared that he would run for president. He also met all kinds of conservative figures, including the arch-conservative Catholicmonarchist Viscount Philippe de Villiers, who supported Le Pen but was also the visionary behind Le Puy du Fou, France’s most successful theme park. The media started to take a strong interest in Macron, and so did the pollsters.

When he resigned from the Valls cabinet last August, Macron was seen as a much more credible candidate than Hollande. And when Hollande himself made clear, on December 1, that he would not run again, many political analysts wondered whether the president had not engineered a Macron candidacy from the very beginning as the only way to salvage the French Left and his own social democratic heritage. The fact is that many socialist officials, including the powerful mayor of Lyons, Gérard Collomb, have endorsed Macron’s candidacy, a necessary legal step, and that many senior members of the Hollande administration, including the no less powerful defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, have given him their support.

The weirdest aspect of Macron’s life is, however, his marriage. His wife Brigitte, is, at 63, 24 years older than him. When he met her, he was a 17-year-old high school pupil in Amiens, northern France, and she was his French literature teacher, a married woman and mother of three. She divorced her first husband to marry Emmanuel in 2007, when he graduated from ENA. It is commonly assumed that she masterminded his entire career and that she still is involved with his current political project. Which may imply, if Hollande’s own involvement is confirmed, that two Svengalis at least have been behind “Boy Macron”. Even so, his talent cannot be denied.

The five candidates devoted comparatively little time, in the television debate, to international affairs. What was noteworthy was that three of them — Le Pen, Mélenchon and Fillon — gave blanket support to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, either in the Middle East and even in the Russian-Ukraine dispute. In addition, Fillon supported Iran. Hamon, on the contrary, stayed loyal to the Hollande administration line: defiant towards Russia, supporting Europe and Nato. As for Macron, he was the only one to mention France’s affinity with America, based on history and mutual values.

All in all, the debate was an acid test for each candidate. According to a poll taken straight afterwards, Macron was described as “the most convincing” of the five candidates by 29 per cent of the audience: quite an achievement. Mélenchon came second with 20 per cent, closely followed by Le Pen and Fillon, who both got 19 per cent.

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April 15th, 2017
2:04 AM
Open primaries followed by runoff elections between the top two vote-getters is pretty common in the USA. It does work.

Empress Trudy
April 14th, 2017
1:04 PM
There is pretty obviously no more political space within which Jews can navigate in France anymore. Just as they started flocking to Le Pen she let slip the mask that the new FN is little different than the old one. The socialists don't want them, the Muslims want them dead, and everyone else on the spectrum is playing for time until the whole country implodes.

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