Is France's Fifth Republic dead?

For the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic France's new president is neither a socialist nor a conservative. Both parties were defeated in the first round of the election. For commentators this election marks the beginning of radical change in France's political system.

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Phileleftheros (CY) /

The French want a fresh start

On Sunday the French did away with the old system, Phileleftheros is convinced:

“Now we can see clearly that the two poles, left and right, are losing their appeal. The percentage of people that voted for Le Pen leaves no doubt that the Front National is set to become the leading opposition party. ... The country's two main parties are in the unprecedented situation of having to accept that they have been stripped of their traditional dominant role. Now that traditional ideological terms are losing their meaning, they are being replaced by new dividing lines. Globalisation advocates versus patriots, protectionism versus internationalism, social and economic winners versus the losers. ... By rejecting the established parties, the French hope that the devastation will give rise to new forms of government and political debate. Whether they will be better or worse remains to be seen.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Old certainties blown apart

Former French prime minister Manuel Valls has announced his plans to leave the Socialist Party and run as a representative for Macron's En Marche! in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The PS is dead, he explained. For La Repubblica this case is symptomatic of the situation in French politics:

“Here we have a leading representative of France's biggest left-wing party and of one of Europe's key parties decreeing its demise. … Since the founding year of the Fifth Republic the French political system has never faced such sweeping reform as now looms - and which is already underway in Paris. In 1958 it was [the then French president] de Gaulle, who completely altered the political panorama [and founded the Fifth Republic], even as France was in the midst of the Algerian War. Now it is the election of a young, independent technocrat who has not only beaten his far-right rival, but also destroyed the traditional political groups. … They ensured political stability for over half a century.”