We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

February 07, 2020

Is Macron the best guarantor against Le Pen?

Will Emmanuel Macron be the best candidate to defeat Marine Le Pen? Or is Macron becoming the easiest candidate for Le Pen to defeat in the second round in 2022? There is clear nervousness in the Élysée palace as Macron is losing support on the right and can no longer count on the centre-left, writes Cécile Cornudet. 

It was the centre-left voters who brought Macron into the Élysée palace in 2017 with their vote to pre-empt Le Pen. Now they reject the idea of voting for Macron ever again no matter the consequences, even if it means Le Pen as president. Two years is a long time in politics, but the disillusionment among Macron's centre-left wing is palpable. 

With the pension reform Macron is now about to lose support from the centre-right voters he inherited from Francois Fillon. They were the ones in favour of a radical pension reform, but they are now wondering how the executive caused so much social tensions only to come up with such a compromised pension reform. In the Elabe poll for Les Echos Macron loses 7pp compared to last month, and his popularity down to 44%.

On both sides of the spectrum there are alternative candidates on the horizon. The particularity of the French voting system is that the two candidates with the most votes in the first round compete in the second round for the presidency. This double-stage game throws up strategic questions. Le Pen is the candidate that everyone expects will make it into the second round. Against whom? Yannick Jadot from the Greens is having a go at portraying the Greens as protection against Le Pen. And on the right there are those ready to pick up Macron's disappointed voters, like Xavier Bertrand or François Baroin. The system also shows why abstentions are so important. If the voters who supported Macron last time stay home, he might not have enough votes to beat Le Pen's solid electorate. The idea of a Le Pen presidency no longer seems to spook the left voters as much as it did in the past.

The question for the Élysée palace is now whether Macron should focus on those left voters that are ready to abstain next time, or those from the right that he convinced in the first half of his presidency. At least, Macron's original supporters remain loyal. among them his popularity increased by 5 points, up to 76%. 

Show Comments Write a Comment

February 07, 2020

Catalan turmoil means Spain will struggle to pass a budget

Martin Sandbu has an interesting column in the Financial Times about all the things Spain could do in Europe if it focused on it and had clear policy direction. He says the Spanish government cannot be consumed with its first big task, passing a budget, and leaves it at that. But we think this underestimates both the importance of passing the budget and the difficulties that Sánchez faces to achieve it. At the moment it is uncertain whether a new budget for 2020 will be passed at all, and a failure could lead to elections again.

Sánchez has spent more time as a caretaker than as full-blown prime minister. He has had his full powers back for a month now, but he needs to pass a budget. This is not to please Brussels. Sánchez' government can hardly work on its programme with Mariano Rajoy's 2018 budget. And passing a budget, like the appointment of Sánchez himself as prime minister, hinges on the abstention of the Catalan left-separatist party, ERC, and also the Basques. The problem for Sánchez is that Catalan regional politics has become even more convulsed in the month since he took office. The prospect of early elections in Catalonia means that ERC cannot be seen to go easy on Sánchez for fear of losing votes to other Catalan separatists in the region. This puts Sánchez in a position to manage heightened expectations of making concessions to the Catalan separatists.

Yesterday Sánchez met with Quim Torra, the Catalan regional premier. Torra is a member of Junts per Catalonia, the conservative separatist party in coalition with ERC in the region. Torra received Sánchez in Barcelona almost as if he were a foreign dignatary. Sánchez presented to Torra a list of 44 policy areas where the Spanish government hopes to improve relations with the region. But all Torra wanted to talk about was an independence referendum, and amnesty for the Catalan politicians and civic leaders in jail for their role in the botched secession attempt of October 2017. The problem for ERC, Torra’s coalition partner, is that it risks losing votes if it supports Sánchez' budget while Sánchez ignores the Catalan demands for a referendum and an amnesty.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • November 18, 2019
  • Is Macron facing another uprise against elites?
  • Forget the inflation target: Lagarde’s job is much bigger.
  • April 12, 2019
  • Where does Wednesday’s uneasy compromise leave the EU?
  • September 05, 2018
  • May’s gamble
  • The ultimate migrant
  • January 30, 2018
  • Will Puigdemont be Catalan premier today?
  • Some thoughts about the German car industry
  • A short note on Italian coalition maths
  • June 28, 2017
  • Is gay marriage Merkel’s next refugee problem?
  • November 25, 2016
  • Unstoppable Fillon
  • To disengage or not from Turkey
  • Spain's opposition scores minimum wage victory in parliament
  • Can Tony Blair succeed to undo Brexit?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 01, 2020
  • What just happened in front of the Reichstag?
  • When revolutions fail
  • March 03, 2020
  • On the unintended consequences of GDPR
  • September 05, 2019
  • Would Keynes be in favour of Brexit?
  • March 11, 2019
  • Ask what Europe can do for Germany - AKK's EU manifesto
  • September 14, 2018
  • Carney warns about dramatic hard Brexit impact on housing market
  • Can Africa thrive on free trade with Europe?
  • March 21, 2018
  • The political pathway to a Brexit revocation is closing
  • September 26, 2017
  • Brexit is a binary choice between EEA or third-country status
  • April 05, 2017
  • What if Macron were to become president?
  • The case for relative optimism about Article 50
  • October 14, 2016
  • Tusk's awkward choice
  • Seven candidates, three debates
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 22, 2020
  • Russia and Turkey double down in Libya
  • What to make of No 10's Brexit briefings
  • January 15, 2020
  • Philippe's not-so-generous compromise offer
  • What is Erdogan up to in Libya?
  • When it is noise and not a signal
  • September 11, 2019
  • What are the chances of a deal?
  • May 09, 2019
  • The EU's impossible dilemma
  • The horsetrading starts in Sibiu
  • May to bring withdrawal bill to Commons week after next
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • August 24, 2018
  • Towards a standoff between Italy and the EU
  • A short note on the diminishing role of economists in political life
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?
  • December 20, 2017
  • Down with the gown
  • How to overcome the political gridlock in Italy
  • Varoufakis is suing the ECB
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 12, 2017
  • Macro in a state of denial
  • Where Schulz is vulnerable
  • Schäuble’s three party tricks
  • December 15, 2016
  • Scared of its own electorate
  • Towards a transitional deal
  • The comeback of Gerhard Schröder as the SPD's powerbroker
  • August 19, 2016
  • Brexit realities slowly dawning on the City
  • Opening shot for Hollande's campaign
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 04, 2020
  • What to make of the Nordstream 2 discussion in Germany?
  • Nato steps in to mediate between Turkey and Greece
  • August 17, 2020
  • How Putin could divide the EU over Belarus
  • The impossible mission of forming a federal government in Belgium
  • July 14, 2020
  • Why the far-right might win in the end
  • June 24, 2020
  • How not to fob off Karlsruhe
  • June 09, 2020
  • The EU and the re-emergence of the state
  • This is not 1968.
  • May 26, 2020
  • French fashion stores - lockdown is one crisis too many
  • An important German supreme court ruling against VW
  • Public scrutiny over lockdown rules
  • May 10, 2020
  • On court rulings and folk economics
  • EU regions - some far better on Covid-19 but not on downturn
  • April 28, 2020
  • A 2020 version of a Marshall plan - really?
  • Where the EU converges and diverges
  • April 17, 2020
  • Should leaders cash in on their approval ratings and seek early elections?
  • Downing Street doubles down on Brexit deadline
  • April 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • March 25, 2020
  • Scientific advice and politics
  • Why the Oxford study is so useful
  • March 17, 2020
  • The old crisis narratives are returning to Germany
  • Return of the war against
  • March 09, 2020
  • Lockdown measures are not working
  • Will the ceasefire hold in Idlib?
  • March 02, 2020
  • What the return of the refugee crisis tells us about the EU
  • Does the UK really want a deal? Does France?
  • February 24, 2020
  • Coronavirus comes to Europe
  • Municipal elections - a precursor for Le Pen?
  • Germany and France get involved over Idlib
  • February 18, 2020
  • What to make of David Frost?
  • Whose success is the EU's arms embargo on Libya?
  • February 14, 2020
  • What defines political success nowadays?
  • Forget the green deal. Call it climate hypocrisy instead.
  • February 12, 2020
  • Turkey's standoff with Russia over Idlib
  • Watch out for Renzi
  • February 10, 2020
  • A new era in Irish politics with Sinn Féin
  • More fish, please