French election shows changing attitudes in Europe

Josh Brody, Columnist On April 23, 2017, France held the first round of its presidential election narrowing the field to two candidates: Emmanuel Macron of the center-left “En Marche!” party and Marine Le Pen of the right-wing National Front. The two will face-off on May 7 to determine the presidency. Although foreign elections are not heavily followed by U.S. media, this one is notably similar to the election in the United States this past November and could also be a turning point for Europe. Although Macron is not a political veteran to the extent of Hillary Clinton, he represents globalism, free markets and a liberal immigration policy. He is a former investment banker who was Deputy-Secretary General from 2012 to 2014 and Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs from 2014 until 2016. Le Pen, on the other hand, promotes a protectionist economy, secularism, and the closing of French borders for additional immigration. She wants France to withdraw from the European Union. The National Front Party was once considered a fringe far-right party with antisemitic and racist undertones. Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father and the party’s founder, once said that the gas chambers of the Holocaust were “just a detail in the history of World War II.” The younger Le Pen has made several efforts to improve the image of the party including removing her father from the party...

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