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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > March 2017 > Candidate for a country at a crossroads

Candidate for a country at a crossroads

Emmanuel Macron is a French anti-Trump. But he is making the running

The French political scene is scattered with corpses. Two presidents and two former prime ministers have been brutally ousted from the presidential contest. Nicolas Sarkozy believed French conservatives missed him—they kicked him out in the first round of their primaries. The sitting president, François Hollande, came to the obvious conclusion he stood no chance, and so at new year gloomily announced he wouldn’t run again. The French just shrugged. His prime minister, Manuel Valls, after pushing him towards the exit, resigned from Matignon, the PM’s residence to run on his own social democratic platform. But he lost the primaries to Benoit Hamon, a 49-year-old leftist who wants to create a new Republic based on an average income all round and a 32 hour working week. Alain Juppé, who had been a young right-wing prime minister in the 1990s, thought his time had come at last. So did pollsters. Their mistake: another former PM, François Fillon, a Catholic traditionalist who had always been looked down as a minor contender, won the conservative primaries on the basis of his integrity—only to be badly wounded, a few weeks later, by “Penelopegate,” a scandal over the payment of public funds to his wife and children. With a judge ordering that Sarkozy stand trial over a campaign finance charge, knives are now being plunged into even the corpses.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s March issue: Sam Tanenhaus, George Magnus and Dahlia Lithwick examine the state of America after Donald Trump’s first couple of weeks. Tanenhaus looks at the situation faced by the American press, Magnus looks at the state of global trade and Lithwick inspects the diminishing right to choice women face over abortion. Anne Perkins explores the rise of Theresa May through the political ranks and David Edmonds looks at how empathy affects our decision making. Also in this issue: Jay Elwes on Trump’s relationship with America’s intelligence agencies, Anita Charlesworth on the state of the NHS and Nick Cohen on what is done in the name of “the people” by politicians
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