With over 66% of the vote, Emmanuel Macron’s recent election win in France was a decisive result. Clearly it was a case of the electorate wanting the country to avoid the extremism we’ve seen with Marine Le Pen. The next step is for Macron to name a prime minister ahead of the legislative elections in June.
We think the French presidential election should be seen against a broader move away from populism across Europe. We witnessed this in the Austrian elections in December 2016 and in Bulgaria in February this year. The same thing was apparent in the Dutch elections in March and in the Finnish municipal elections in April. All of these elections had the potential to bring populist politicians into power but instead resulted in more orthodox centre-ground candidates winning the vote – often, as in the Netherlands, with a large, and largely unexpected, majority. The same trend is now apparent in Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel gained ground in the German state elections, which boosts the prospects for her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in the all-important Federal election in September.
Suzanne Hutchins – Newton, a BNY Mellon company