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For 'En marche!', a long march begins

By David Gosset | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-08 10:13

For <EM>'En marche!'</EM>, a long march begins

French President elect Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux celebrate on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris, France May 7, 2017. [Photo/Agencies] 

As the victory of hope, reason and moderation over fear, emotion and extremism, Emmanuel Macron’s clear electoral win on May 7, 2017, with 65.8 percent of the votes signals a stop in a series of populist surprises embodied by the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

In a context of unprecedented cyber disinformation and destabilization whose effects are, at this stage, difficult to foresee, it is remarkable for a man who created the movement “En marche!” one year ago and who was candidate for the very first time to win France’s most decisive election.

The rapid rise of Macron is disruptive enough to be perceived as a new chapter of French politics but it is also a source of stability.

As a true generational change – Barack Obama became President at 47, the new French President, born in December 1977, is only 39 – it potentially introduces in a country which is in need of reforms new dynamics in step with global technological and geopolitical evolutions. With Macron, the risks of having “la Grande Nation” marginalized in the digital and Artificial Intelligence era significantly decreases.

Macron's France is theoretically synonymous with a stronger European Union and new Franco-German initiatives will boost the integration of the continent. The positive reactions of the financial markets and the upward variations of the Euro will illustrate a confidence in the new French president economic approach.

On free trade, multilateralism, global governance and climate change France and China stand in a moment of convergence which offers a unique opportunity to take the relations between the two countries at another level.

However, for Macron the time for celebration will be short, he has on his shoulders enormous responsibilities and five years to demonstrate that his leadership can deliver real change.

If he is unable to fight unemployment, a major failure of his predecessors since the 70s, and to maintain security, the French people might opt, in 2022, for a populist and nationalistic path.

An underlying trend should occupy his mind: in 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the Front National, won 17.79 % of the votes in the second round of the presidential election which saw the victory of Jacques Chirac, 15 years later, Marine Le Pen, gathered, 34.2% of the votes.

With Macron’s presidency, France stands at a crossroads: it can be about the progress of France in a more cohesive and protective Europe or, should it fail, the prelude to its disintegration.

With Emmanuel Macron as president, France has a new face, now, the country expects results. For “En marche!”, beyond the tactical positioning of a presidential election, a spectacular communication and brilliants speeches a long march begins!

If the political momentum created by an intelligent and dynamic campaign continues through the energy of wise presidential actions – well judged composition of the government combined with the right policies – it can be a long march towards success and progress.

David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum and of the New Silk Road Initiative, director of the Academia Sinica Europaea, CEIBS.

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