The first round of the French presidential election has finished. National Front candidate Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron have advanced to the finals, which will take place May 7, 2017. The two candidates represents two different futures for France,

Le Pen is running on an anti-immigration, anti-free trade platform, advocates France leaving both the European Union and NATO, and establishing more ties with Russia to the determent of the United States.

Advertisement
Advertisement

She is somewhat moderate on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Her approach to restoring economic vitality to French industry and agriculture involves protectionist measures against foreign competition.

Macron, a former banker, is a different kind of candidate. Though he was an economy minister under the socialist government of Francois Hollande, he is for encouraging business innovation, especially high tech, and the “Uber” approach to the economy in which people work as independent contractors rather than employees, according to France24.

Advertisement

He is pro-globalization, supports boosting education in “deprived areas” and opposes the “stigmatization” of Muslim residents of France. However, recently, Macron has taken a hard line against terrorism in response to recent outrages such as the murder of a police officer on the Champs Elysees.

Currently, the polls place Macron far ahead of Le Pen. However, as many observers of the political scene suggest, such surveys should be taken with a grain of salt.

In a world that contains President Donald Trump and in which Great Britain is leaving the European Union, anything is possible. Nationalist political fever has spread across Europe and may propel Le Pen to a come from behind victory.

On the other hand, the mainline parties who were defeated in the first round can be counted to rally behind Macron in an “anyone but Le Pen” push. Macron is taking a youthful, optimistic stance as a contrast to Le Pen’s angry approach to politics.

Macron is very pro-American for a French politician, having served as a leader of the French-American Foundation.

While some American conservatives are attracted to Le Pen due to the “right wing” label slapped on her by pundits, a Macron win would be far better for Franco-American relations that would a Le Pen presidency. Many of Le Pen’s policies are hardly conservative in the sense of encouraging free markets.

Advertisement

Her proposed alliance with Vladimir Putin’s Russia would prove troubling to American interests.

Macron, by the way, has a personal life that has raised eyebrows even in relatively tolerant France. He fell in love with one of his high school teachers. Even though she was 24 years his senior, she divorced her husband and married her former student the moment he graduated. The only known instance of that happening in American politics is the case of Newt Gingrich, whose first wife was one of his high school teachers.

Advertisement

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more