France’s presidential race is heating up — and independent Emmanuel Macron has surprised many with his performance in two polls out this week.
Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron announced his bid for the presidency in November of last year, and was initially largely discounted as a long shot. Macron is known by the French as the ex-investment banker who introduced labor reforms to President Hollande. Macron created his own political party, En Marche! (“On the Move!”), and is running as an independent, centrist candidate.
“Although one of France’s most popular politicians, he has never held elected office and has no party apparatus behind him. Some say his campaign may struggle,” Reuters reported shortly after his candidacy was announced.
But it looks like those predictions may have been wrong. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone, as the new political axiom appears to be: “expect the unexpected.”
Macron recently made gains in two polls, as the Guardian reports “The Harris Interactive poll showed Macron taking 26% of the vote on 23 April – a six-point gain in two weeks – compared with 25% for National Front leader Le Pen, who had long been leading in the first round.”
With polling numbers this close, it is likely that a May 7 runoff will occur. If the Harris poll is to be believed, this would place Macron ahead of Marine Le Pen with a whomping 65% of the vote.
Even the Cevipof survey, which has a much larger sample size, thus granting it more credibility, puts Le Pen ahead in the initial vote, but shows Macron easily winning in a runoff.
Macron’s success in the race thus far should provide a glimmer of hope for independent candidates worldwide. Global trends appear promising for those who reject traditional political party structures, as the general sentiment among the electorate shifts toward rejecting traditional establishment candidates.
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