Date
25 July 2017
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, although far behind her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron in the polls, could still win the French presidential election. Photo: Reuters
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, although far behind her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron in the polls, could still win the French presidential election. Photo: Reuters

Risk from French presidential election still there

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will face off in the second round of France’s presidential election on May 7.

A recent poll shows Macron has a support rate of 59.8 percent, 19 percentage points higher than that of Le Pen. The centrist candidate is most likely to be the next French president.

But after the surprise Brexit vote and the election victory of US President Donald Trump, we should know by now that these things are not quite predictable.

According to some analysts, many centrist voters might go for Le Pen because Macron is closely associated with the Francois Hollande administration, and Macron does not have a tough stance on immigration.

Also, traditional leftist voters might choose to abstain. If that happens, the far-right Le Pen could win on the back of a low turnout and a switch by some centrist voters.

The Economic Policy Uncertainty Index has surpassed the highs seen during the euro debt crisis and hit a fresh record.

A Le Pen victory could bring a huge shock to global financial markets, cast a long shadow of uncertainty over France’s economy, and dim the outlook of the European Union.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 4

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/CG

Hong Kong Economic Journal chief economist and strategist

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