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Emmanuel Macron, or ‘the Illusionist’

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Expect Macron’s victory speech focus on a victory over populism and defeatism. But this is no victory whatsoever.

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It should have been Fillon.

The second round of this year’s French presidential election, otherwise known as Macron’s coronation ceremony, is coming to a close. All the polls, which were extremely accurate in the first round of voting, suggest Macron’s lead is dramatic. If he was to lose, it would be truly historic.

But on Sunday, when the En Marche ! candidate wins, there will be many exclamations, both from political pundits and European officials, suggesting this was a huge victory for the European Union and against populism. Let’s not fall for the Macron illusion, though.

Behind that young face and that well-engineered, energetic campaign that will plaster the headlines, France’s true feelings simmer. And for this celebratory period, Macron will have pulled his grand illusion. That is, the illusion that France is no more than lukewarm to his proposals.

Because let’s not forget that in the first round of voting, very nearly half of France voted for ‘extreme’ candidates. That is, those who take strong views on instutitions such as the Eurozone and the EU, who wanted either change in or adandonment of them. These politicians, such as Mélenchon, Le Pen and Dupont-Aignan, will likely only gain more traction over the next few years and will come back with a biting force in 2022.

That is, of course, if Macron doesn’t to anything to eleviate people’s real concerns with globalisation and immigration. To do that, he has to be an effective president. Of course, it should be standard to wish that whoever makes it to the Élysée will do the best that they can. So here’s to five years of Macron; there’s no point crying about it.

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