00:16 GMT +315 October 2019
Listen Live
    Supporters of Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election wait for his arrival at the Parc des Expositions hall in Paris, France April 23, 2017.

    France Reeling From Political Bombshell Caused by Failure of Two-Party State

    © REUTERS / Philippe Wojazer
    Europe
    Get short URL
    Macron, Le Pen Heading to 2nd Round of French Presidential Election (81)
    195
    Subscribe

    Both the Socialists and the Republicans in France are reeling from the fact that - for the first time in a generation - neither party has won through to the final run-off in the presidential race, largely due to complete dissatisfaction with the incumbent establishment.

    The first round of the French presidential election has pitted the Front National's Marine Le Pen against the leader of his newly-founded En Marche party, Emmanuel Macron, giving France its first non-Socialist-Republican race for presidency in a generation.

    ​French President Francois Hollande — a Socialist — pulled out at the first hurdle, largely because of a loss of popularity over his handling of the economy and his introduction of what some saw as draconian emergency measures in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks. 

    Hollande knew his unpopularity — ultimately — was down to his being unable to turn round the fortunes of the French economy and the fact that he caused massive anger over his deeply unpopular reforms to France's heavily codified labor laws.

    French president Francois Hollande is pictured during a meeting with the French Foreign Affairs Minister and figures from the cultural world and members of associations committted to peace in Syria, on October 14, 2016 at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris
    © AFP 2019 / MARTIN BUREAU
    ​French President Francois Hollande

    The controversial changes — which have seen unions and students stage months of strikes and protests — gave employers more scope to lay-off workers, cut costs and allow some employees to work far longer than the current maximum 35-hour week.

    French labour union workers attend a demonstration against the French labour law proposal in Marseille, France, as part of a nationwide labor reform protests and strikes, April 28, 2016.
    © REUTERS / Jean-Paul Pelissier
    French labour union workers attend a demonstration against the French labour law proposal in Marseille, France, as part of a nationwide labor reform protests and strikes, April 28, 2016.

    His labor reforms were unpopular with the unions and his own Socialist party, which was already lambasting him for rolling back on plans to tax the super-rich at 75 percent for those earning over US$1 million. Ironically, his own economy minister Macron is now through to the final run-off with Le Pen.

    Non-Delivery

    Francois Fillon, for the Republicans, dropped into third place, in the first round, April 23, largely because of disaffections with his party for failing to deliver.

    "For many years the Republicans have been campaigning on patriotic ideas, on taking France back again. The truth is when they were in power, they did not deliver and people are fed up," Jerome Riviere, a former Republican MP and now senior defence adviser to Le Pen told the BBC Today program.

    "In just one year, we have changed the face of French politics," said a triumphant Macron, who now faces off Le Pen in the second round, May 7, with the polls suggesting a victory for Macron.

    Topic:
    Macron, Le Pen Heading to 2nd Round of French Presidential Election (81)

    Related:

    Le Pen Says Macron 'Weak' in Fight Against Islamist Terrorism
    French Centrists Herald Macron's Election Victory, Le Pen Rallies 'Patriots'
    French President Hollande to Back Macron in Run-Off Election - Spokesman
    Le Pen Unlikely to Receive Votes of Melenchon's Supporters in Run-Off - MP
    Supporters of Fillon, Melenchon May Vote for Le Pen in Run-Off - Campaign Head
    Tags:
    political establishment, French 2017 election, French presidential election, election, French Presidential Election 2017, Republicans party, French Presidency (Elysee), Party of Socialists, Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Europe, France
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik