Pest or cholera?

C-LtFTFWAAA54XIAccording to the French electoral system, the less unpopular among the two candidates who make it into the second round will be the country’s next president. This appears to beEmmanuel Macron, the self-styled “neither-left-nor-right” candidate whom pollsters predict to win with around 60% against 40% over the country´s most hated woman, Marine Le Pen.

The set-up is somewhat similar to last year’s presidential election in the US, where one candidate representing the country’s political establishment, Hillary Clinton, lost against a raucous anti-establishment candidate, Donald Trump. But if pollsters are not dramatically wrong, this time it will be the “establishment” that wins. Emmanuel Macron’s main advantage is that, while he may not be very popular among the French electorate, he is not nearly as unpopular as Hillary Clinton was among Americans: people just don’t know a lot about him and his ideas. If they did, who knows whether they would not vote for Le Pen.

The truth is, however, that Macron is a quintessentiql representative of the political establishment that French voters are so frustrated about: Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), a career as investment banker at Rothschild’s, a stint as minister of economy in incumbent President Francois Hollande’s hugely unpopular and unsuccessful  cabinet. His electoral program remains unclear, and his only real achievement appears to be to have quit the Hollande cabinet exactly at the right time.

Contrary to the US elections, there is no good reason to believe that the outcome will be different than predicted by the pollsters. While last year there were some polls, albeit not those that were quoted by the mass media, that saw Trump ahead of Clinton, the best poll result for Marine Le Pen is around 42%. Moreover, France does not have an electoral system in which someone can be elected president despite having received 3 million votes less than his opponent.

Thus Macron will be elected – and very probably he will be a lame duck right from the beginning, given the difficult he will face in securing a stable majority in the National Assembly. Chaotic times are ahead for France – but in any case they can hardly be worse than the Hollande era, in which the sole reforms achieved by the government were the introduction of sodo-“marriage”, “express divorce”, and legislation to restrict freedom of speech for all opponents of these blessings of “modern society”. The country’s hopes to get a reasonably good president where shattered two weeks ago when Francois Fillon won only the third place in the first round of the election after having been lampooned for charges of corruption.