Imagine an election in the US without a Democratic or Republican candidate. That’s what we have in the runoff for the French Presidential election on May 7. Emmanuel Macron, the favourite to win, will find that winning is the easy part. Despite Macron’s success in the first round, the death of populism has been greatly exaggerated. 48% of the votes in the first round went to candidates hostile to the EU and globalization, causes that Macron champions. On the one hand, Macron is not beholden to the Left and so, theoretically, is free to make decisions that are unpopular with them. There is hope that he will act unselfishly and not cave in to leftist sentiment. On the other hand, successive Presidents and Prime Ministers in France have announced their intentions to change and reform the country, only to be successfully opposed by those who have something to lose. UK Prime Minister Theresa May surprised everyone last week by calling a snap general election for June. With her party 23 point ahead in the polls, May is expected to win this election in a canter. May has called the election because the country is coming together, but Westminster is not. The Tories have long been written off as English right-wingers, winning only token representation beyond the English borders. Polls indicate that all this is about to change and the Tories are on track to becoming the formal opposition to the SNP in Scotland and the biggest party in Wales.
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