Macron rising in the polls

With his popularity rating at 26 percent, Emmanuel Macron has overtaken Marine Le Pen for the first time in the polls. If the elections were held today, the candidate of the En Marche! movement would face the leader of the Front National as front runner in the second round of voting. Is Macron just a prattler, or can he really stop the advance of the far right?

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Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Candidate lures with narcissist drivel

Macron is just a narcissist prattler as far as Corriere del Ticino is concerned:

“He is the embodiment of political ambiguity. There is no real substance behind his slogans. … He is a modern product of political marketing, but he has hit a nerve with the disoriented voters of the centre who fear Le Pen and her formulas. An ambitious civil servant who clawed his way up from public service finance director to unscrupulous investment banker at Rothschild & Co. and then on to become Hollande's right hand man and a Socialist minister, Macron possesses the flaw of ambiguity. … To aid his election campaign the ex-Socialist invented the En marche! movement and wrote a book (Révolution). It brims with narcissism and empty words.”

Cinco Días (ES) /

Macron must save Europe

Europe's future now depends on Macron, counters Cinco Días, praising the candidate's courageous stance:

“Macron has begun his election campaign in those areas where the Front National has the upper hand, the working class areas with high levels of unemployment and large immigrant populations. But rather than going around these districts fanning the primal fears of the French, Macron is using an entirely new kind of discourse: 'The immigrants,' he says, 'are not responsible for your situation, and throwing them out won't do anything to improve it. What will be effective is reforming the social services, the administration structures and the regulations that protect corporate interests.' Macron has denounced the new American protectionism with the same spontaneity with which most European leaders (apart from a few honourable exceptions) have remained silent. … Right now he seems in a position to beat Le Pen in the second round. It's no exaggeration to say that Europe's future hangs on this thread.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

An excellent but risky strategy

The ability to undergo political metamorphoses is Macron's strength but also his Achilles' heel, writes Mezri Haddad, former Tunisian ambassador to Unesco, in Le Figaro:

“Running after every ideology, value, category, profession and social strata is an understandable tactic when it comes to gaining power. It's even the very essence of democracy, ever since the Athenians had the bad idea of inventing it despite Socrates' warnings and Plato's injunctions. In a democracy all voices are equal, even when the directions they would take diverge! ... To be everything and its opposite is a sign of progress in this time of decadence, a proof of brilliance in times of moral, intellectual and political leukaemia, a mark of brilliance in this era so far from enlightenment. But in wanting to be everything you end up being nothing at all, unles it's an ex nihilo creation on the part of hidden kingmakers and advocates of permanent revolution.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Captivating and inspiring

Dagens Nyheter compares Macron with another politician outside France:

“In many respects Macron resembles Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. … Trudeau rose to power in 2015 as a beacon of hope, thanks to his charisma and despite his lack of political experience. He wants Canada to be an open country and campaigns for equality and the rights of the country's original inhabitants. What his concrete policies were and are - apart from having established a far more pleasant social and debate climate - remains a little unclear. … Trudeau and Macron are the new stars of liberalism, they rely on emotions and take a sporty approach to things. They don't cling to prepared keywords but use their charm. The critics are right when they say more substance is needed. But be that as it may, the two are captivating and inspiring the voters. And this is precisely what liberalism in the West now needs.”

Público (PT) /

Macron could revive Europe

Macron is the only pro-European presidential candidate in France, Público stresses:

“The election in France is widely seen as a test of whether the EU will survive - and a victory for Marine Le Pen as its death knell. A victory for Macron would be a chance to revive the spirit of the European project in these times of 'Trump craziness' and manifest hostility towards the EU. Macron is without doubt the most pro-European of all the candidates - left or right-wing - in France, if not the only truly pro-European one. He could jump-start the German-French engine, perhaps in tandem with SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz. … According to the opinion polls Macron's pro-European stance is one of his main selling points - apart from his main selling point, namely the fact that he doesn't belong to any political party.”

Aamulehti (FI) /

Fresh liberalism against right-wing populism

Macron could take the wind out of the sails of right-wing populism in Europe, Aamuhlehti hopes:

“If no political earthquake occurs it is very likely that Marine Le Pen will be pitted against Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the elections. That would also be a 'correct' election choice in terms of content, because Le Pen, inspired by the British decision to leave the EU, has promised the French that they will be able to vote in a referendum on their country's EU membership too. … Macron, by contrast, is a passionate European and also a new kind of liberal with left-wing tendencies. The EU has fallen into disgrace at a time when the citizens have lost their faith in both the traditional left and the moderate right. A fresh new brand of liberalism may well be a way of saving the European project and preventing a definitive breakthrough for far-right populism.”