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Global Revolt Against Elites. Results of the First Round of Elections in France

The fact that representatives of the mainstream political parties failed to enter the second round of the presidential elections in France, is a manifestation of the global revolt against the elites, says Valdai Club expert Yury Rubinsky, Professor at the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics and Head of the Center for French Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for European Studies.

Neither Emmanuel Macron who is considered to be the leader of the race, nor Marine Le Pen will be able to rely on a powerful majority in case of victory in the parliament. They will have to solve the most difficult issues by taking unpopular measures.

Following the results of the last Sunday first round, the leader of the "En Marche!" movement Emmanuel Macron got 23.75 percent of the vote, followed by the chairman of the National Front Marin Le Pen with 21.53 percent. Macron got support by all major mainstream parties and former candidates, Rubinsky said in an interview to www.valdaiclub.com, but that properly could add votes to his rival.

"Many voters, both on the left and on the right, can side with the National Front as a mark of protest. This is not because they share the program of Marin Le Pen, but because they are unhappy with the return to that practice and politics that Macron can continue, because he was a member of the current socialist government and an adviser to the unpopular president", Rubinsky said.

According to Rubinsky, the French electoral system is structured in such a way that during the first round the voter, especially the hesitant, votes for the candidate that is most suitable for him, and during the second round he votes against the one whose candidature seems unacceptable to him.

The collapse of traditional parties became a manifestation of a global revolt against the elites. "The Socialist party has collapsed - it is already obvious. The Republicans for the first time in history of the Fifth Republic do not participate in the presidential elections and are experiencing a severe crisis. The political future of their candidate François Fillon, who did not even stand for future parliamentary elections, is doubtful", Rubinsky added.

The Parliamentary elections, which will be held in June, can be considered as a "third round" of the presidential elections, the expert stressed. It is obvious that it will be extremely difficult for the new president to work with the new parliament, whoever is elected.

"Now the situation is new, in the future parliament there will be a majority coalition. One party, solid, defining, is not expected. Under these conditions, the freedom of action of any president, be it Macron or Le Pen, will be rather limited in both domestic and foreign policy," Rubinsky said.

Key issues that the new president will face are security, unemployment, stagnation in the economy, budget and trade deficit, as well as the suppression of corruption phenomena and the very way of elites forming, Rubinsky added.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.