Sumary of In France, Party Politics Is Going the Way of the Dodo:
- By Lionel Laurent | Bloomberg, The list of candidates hoping to take on Emmanuel Macron for the French presidency in April is getting long.
- About 30 people have thrown their hats in the ring, including Paris’ Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
- Le Pen has always been the main threat for Macron, and she’s trying to become more palatable to the average French voter — dropping unpopular policies like quitting the euro, glossing over her past contentious views and seeking to detoxify her party.
- On the Left, Anne Hidalgo has for months been tipped as a bridge between social justice and eco-conscious politics after Covid-19. Yet she currently polls below 10% and there is widespread skepticism that she can get rivals, from far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon to the prospective Green Party pick, to rally behind her.
- In such a fragmented political landscape, with French voters increasingly leaning conservative on issues like immigration and security while supporting Macron’s “whatever-it-takes” approach to pandemic management, the center-right is seen as a vital election battleground.
- And while he is seen as being a convincing leader and good pandemic manager, a majority of French public opinion is unhappy with his performance overall.
- Headline-grabbing proposals have yet to move the needle: Hidalgo’s call to double teachers’ salaries and Le Pen’s proposal to renationalize highways are each seen costing around 40 billion euros ($47.3 billion).