Emmanuel Macron, the centrist founder of the En Marche! movement beat National Front candidate Marine Le Pen by two votes to one in the second and final round of the French presidential elections on 7th May, in line with my core scenario.
But for President-elect Macron (and arguably the other main party leaders), the hard work starts now. Macron is expected to appoint next week his Prime Minister and there has been much speculation.
I would expect Macron to pick a head of government and approve cabinet ministers who will not polarise political opinion. The appointment of a “rainbow government” would likely help his party – recently renamed “La République En Marche” – secure the largest number of deputies at the forthcoming legislative elections on 11th and 18th June.
If his party succeeds as opinion polls suggest – no mean feat for a party which is only a year old and currently has no parliamentary deputies – this would in turn help reinforce Macron’s position and his choice of Prime Minister.
However, polls suggest that La République En Marche may fail to secure a majority of the 577 seats in the National Assembly.
If the party falls well short of that number, it would likely seek a loose coalition with either the Republican Party or less likely with the beleaguered Socialist Party, in my view.
The National Front is likely to cement its position in French politics but it will need to reform itself and I would expect personnel changes and policy tweaks.
Marine Le Pen fell well short of securing the presidency and this should have come as no great surprise as nationalist parties in other EU member states have also come up short.
This is in line with my view that while nationalist/populist parties may have greater influence on the political landscape they will in most cases fail to exercise true power, let alone dismantle the eurozone and/or EU.
Finally, opinion polls which predicted with great accuracy the second and in particular first round of the presidential elections, are back in favour – at least in France.