France Set to Lead Europe’s Libdem Revival
With just 5 days before the National Assembly elections on the 11th of June, Emmanuel Macron’s “La République en Marche” is leading the French public opinion polls. His party is in alliance with the Democratic Movement and they are heading the polls with over 30%.
Second in the polls with 20% is the alliance between the Republicans and the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI). Trailing in 3rd place with 18% is Marine Le Pen’s Front National.
Immigration and security continue to be key electoral issues. This is potentially embarrassing for the Republicans which field several candidates, like Thierry Mariani, who stand accused of breaching international immigration laws by visiting the illegally occupied territory of Crimea in Ukraine. It is hard to understand how politicians can claim to be tough on migration, when they have a record of being illegal immigrants themselves.
But already the performance of Emmanuel Macron as President of France since his inauguration on the 14th of May is drawing praise. There can be no doubts that his leadership will help the electoral performance of his party and his allies this Sunday.
At the NATO summit in Brussels on the 25th of May, Macron will have attracted the attention of Guy Novès the coach of the French rugby team with his swerve to greet Angela Merkel before Donald Trump – a side-step that the great centre for “Les Bleus” Philippe Sella would have been proud of. With such insouciance, it is small wonder that Macron’s political heartland is the rugby loving South and West of France.
His elegant response to the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris accord last week also gave a signal that Macron has the courage and commitment to give global leadership, with his now famous slogan “Make our planet great again” – attracting more than 10 million views to the video of the TV broadcast on his Facebook Page.
Are we witnessing the beginning of a swing in favour of Liberal Democratic values across Europe? The Economist magazine last week endorsed the Liberal Democratic party in the UK to honour the long-held vision of the UK as an open, liberal country. Whilst it is still too early to forecast a Liberal Democrat revival in Europe, it looks probable that this political Group in the European Parliament will grow significantly stronger thanks to the performance of their member parties in France.