What would change with Macron?

Emmanuel Macron is entering Sunday's second round of voting in the French presidential elections as the favourite. Recent polls give the candidate of the movement En Marche! a 20-point lead over his rival Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National. The significance of the election extends far beyond France and the next five years, commentators believe.

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Le Monde (FR) /

Make France more democratic

Political scientist Patrick Weil stresses in Le Monde that the real power resides with the parliament and calls on left-wing and Socialist voters to first elect Macron and then to fight for their goals in the parliamentary elections:

“In uniting and seeking a majority in the National Assembly for your camp and your ideas, you will usher in a new and more democratic interpretation of the Fifth Republic. ... Chosen by a majority of the French, Mr Macron will be the president of the republic - but he will not govern France. That will be the role of the government that wins a majority in the National Assembly. Power in the republic could then be concentrated in the National Assembly, where all parties are represented. A balance will be restored there, one closer to the people, more sensitive to their ideas and more community-oriented. ... The 'presidentialist' interpretation of the Fifth Republic, which a majority of French people reject, will then belong to the past.”

Jornal de Negócios (PT) /

Election will damage Europe

Regardless of the outcome the French election will do considerable damage to Europe, former Portuguese diplomat Francisco Seixas da Costa counters in the Jornal de Negócios:

“If Marine Le Pen moves into the Elysée, which I hope won't happen, the European project would come under huge pressure and could even be destabilised. If Macron comes out on top, which seems more likely, he will be seen as a president who only won 'by default'. … No matter what the outcome we must wait for the parliamentary elections in June - because only they will show to what extent the next president can govern the country. ... What already seems clear is that from next Monday on France will be a very different country. Another bit of bad news is that that probably goes for Europe too - in the negative sense.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

A Macron victory won't solve basic conflict

People shouldn't get too excited if Macron wins, the Tagesspiegel warns:

“So far no one has come up with a solution for the basic conflict Europe and the West as a whole face - on the one hand an educated, digitally savvy, mobile, pro-globalisation, high-earning class, on the other the sense of foreign infiltration, the desire for a traditional sense of belonging, the return to nationalism. So we must be wary of liberal triumphalism after a potential victory for Macron. The defeated side would perceive this as another humiliating act of elitist arrogance that deepens the social divide. Liberal values remain under threat. Neither Macron nor Merkel can free us from this malaise.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Le Pen can look forward to 2022

Even if he wins Macron will have a hard time pushing through his policies, Berlingske predicts:

“Macron has no majority for his economic reforms or his liberal policies among the French. That will quickly make him a very unpopular president. Moreover he won't be able to count on a parliamentary majority after the upcoming elections to the National Assembly, so he'll find it difficult to implement his brand of politics. Even if he wins he'll have lost the battle over his policies. His values and economic programme will lead to even more frustration among the French. More emphasis will be placed on social-conservative positions under his leadership. And almost inevitably Macron will lose to Marine Le Pen or another social-conservative candidate in the next presidential election in 2022.”

Blog Bádog (HU) /

Macron endangering European civilisation

Emmanuel Macron should be put behind bars for his liberal immigration policy, right-wing nationalist journalist Zsolt Bayer demands in his blog Bádog:

“You and those who think like you, Mr Macron, will be the last to be able to live a 'French' life in your home country, something your children, on the other hand (though of course you don't have any), will no longer be able to do. And that is your crime. A horrendous, abominable crime that will never fall under the statute of limitations. A crime against humanity, European civilisation and the nations of Europe. If they want to survive, these nations would do well to take you and your like-minded cronies out of circulation. Then you can reflect all you like on the open society and the economic benefits of immigration from the comfort of your cell. We out here, meanwhile, will revert to an 'old fashioned' European civilisation.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Aggressiveness vs. arguments

Macron was able to consolidate his position as the second-round favourite in the TV debate, De Telegraaf comments:

“The big question was how Le Pen would fare on economic issues. She had few suggestions, whereas Macron explained clearly how he wants to stimulate growth. ... On the subject of 'radical Islam', Le Pen felt more at home. ... But despite the high risk of terror in France and the attacks of recent years, for many French people economic problems are more important. Macron was the clear winner. He fought with substantive arguments, while Le Pen was above all aggressive and got carried away with statements like 'Are you trying to make us afraid?' This duel will reaffirm the polls, which for days have given Macron 60 percent of the vote and Le Pen 40.”

Libération (FR) /

A second-division player in every respect

Marine Le Pen's attacks made it clear that she's not in the same league as Macron, Libération comments:

“Putting aside the inherent risks of her project and the discrimination she wants to inflict on anyone who's not from here, and considering instead only her knowledge of the various issues, the credibility of her financial model, the solidity of her proposals - in a word, the quality of her arguments - Marine Le Pen is playing in the second division. There's plenty to be said about Emmanuel Macron's projects, about their expediency, efficiency, and potentially adverse effects. But not like that. Not with big artillery that randomly fire the same cannonball again and again, nor with cumbersome statements that take the place of any form of reasoning. And not with personal insinuations that hark back to the old rhetoric of the 1930s.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

FN isn't scoring any points with Frexit

Le Pen is scaring away voters by promoting a Frexit referendum and abandoning the euro key campaign issues, Corriere del Ticino observes:

“As far as the EU and the euro are concerned, Marine Le Pen isn't scaring off those who are doing well, the elite or the so-called establishment but those who are struggling financially and in particular the middle class. Faux pas, partial changes of direction, improvised theories and a lack of consensus among the different representatives of the Front National regarding the euro and a return to the franc have done nothing but fan these fears. The majority of the French are against leaving the EU and don't even want to leave the monetary union because the consequences would be virtually insurmountable practical problems.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

How to deal with liars like Le Pen?

Media hype about Marine Le Pen's conduct has only helped her cause in the past, Tages-Anzeiger counters after the TV debate between the Front National candidate and Macron:

“She is known not just for plagiarising but also for lying, and the bigger the fuss this creates, the more it works to her advantage. Shortly before the first round the right-wing nationalist candidate claimed the French state was 'not responsible' for deporting Jews to Nazi concentration camps. The scandal was perfectly timed. 'Lies are seen as opinions nowadays', said the Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt. … The American won a libel suit against Holocaust denier David Irving in 1996. She would have been just as successful against Marine Le Pen. But it still would have worked in Le Pen's favour. How can you win against such people?”