The anti-establishment candidate Marine Le Pen of Front National will face-off on May 7 against her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! The two candidates have wasted no time in trying to land a knockout blow before the vote.
Macron’s first-round victory on April 23 prompted a positive reaction from many European politicians and the media. Le Pen, who came in just three percentage points behind Macron, announced that, if elected, she will choose the leader of the nationalist Stand up France party as her Prime Minister.
Despite the two candidates being on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they have managed to unite some people who’ve rallied against both of them. And that has led to some ugly protests this week in Paris.
Can Macron convince French voters that he has their best interests at heart?
Without reform, EU is headed for Frexit – Macron — RT News
The “dysfunctional” European Union requires some in depth reform, or France could head for the door, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said a week before the second election round.
RT: Emmanuel Macron seems to be raising the possibility of a Frexit if the EU doesn’t reform. What do you make of that comment? Is he just jumping on the bandwagon, or is this a genuine belief from Macron’s party?
Nikola Mirkovich: That is definitely not a genuine belief of Mr. Macron’s party. Macron has been – through his short political career – very much on the same wavelength since the beginning that he is a staunch supporter of the EU. He is just using that term because the EU today is very, very unfashionable in France. If you look at the way people voted recently, a lot of the parties, whether it be Marine Le Pens’ or [Jean-Luc] Mélenchon’s, are anti-EU parties. Not a lot of people in France today… want the EU the way it has been running. And don’t forget, there was a referendum a couple of years ago, in 2005, when the French rejected the EU constitution. So I think he is just playing around with that, and maybe he thinks he could put some pressure on the EU for some reform. That is what I get out of it.
RT: In many EU countries when it gets closer to vote, the EU is always the whipping boy of any candidate, isn’t it? Do you think voters are going to fall for it?
NM: No, I think the image of him being a golden boy from Brussels, the banker, is too strong, and he cannot get rid of that image. Definitely it will not help him gain extra points. He maybe doesn’t need them, but I don’t think that image is going to work. It is just the way Macron has been doing his campaign since the beginning – saying one thing in the morning and then the contrary in the afternoon. It is quite difficult to follow him. But definitely if you not only read between the lines, if you recall what he said and produced since the beginning, and all he has done as a minister of Francois Hollande, you can see that he is a very strong supporter of the EU…
RT: Over the past few weeks EU leaders have been behind him, his former rivals in France have been behind him, and all the polls suggested that he is going to take the presidency next Sunday. What do you make of this?
NM: There is one important detail, and that is in the way he uses the English language. I think what he really meant is that if there isn’t a bit of change in the European Union, there could be a Frexit, because the French people will put pressure on the legislator, on the French President to get out of the EU. It’s not him saying he would lead a Frexit, it is him saying that if we don’t change a bit the EU the way it is running today, there will undoubtedly be a Frexit, because the French people will want it, or if the Front National wins the next time then they will impose the Frexit. I think that is the real meaning of what Macron said.
RT: Lots of leaders have called for the reform of the EU, but it rarely happens. David Cameron failed to do that. Even if Macron suggests to reform Brussels, how likely is it to ever happen?
NM: Not likely, because he would have said that in the beginning. You would need a very strong, big program; it is a huge program to change the EU. A lot of people have been trying to do it from the inside; it is complicated. It has become a techno-structure today. Nobody knows how it will change. It lives off itself. If he really was sincere in doing that, he would have a program. In any case he would have to develop a very strong program with some deliverables in the short-term in mid-term, to say, this is what we want from the EU. And he has not said that so far. I definitely do not think he will be doing that in the years to come.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
The last thing I ever wanted to do was write about France’s likely next president, Emmanuel Macron, but here we are. This post was inspired by a very telling Financial Times article sent to me by a reader, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Most Americans paying attention to global affairs have some conception of his opponent, nationalist firebrand Marine Le Pen, but Macron is likely to be very much a black box. I hope today’s post changes that.
Any knowledge you may have on Macron probably comes from mainstream news outlets, which have been uniformly gushing about the socialist-centrist Rothschild protege.
As an example, just take a look at the following title from a January article published at Foreign Policy.
You’d think this guy was the second coming or something. Naturally, the gushing continues beyond the title. Here are the first few paragraphs.
In some of his many previous lives, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron has been a philosophy student, an investment banker, and a minister of economy. It is not surprising, then, in his current life as an independent candidate for the French presidency, he does not always speak like other candidates. And it’s not only the substance of his language that stands out but also, sometimes, his choice of language. Last week, in a speech at Berlin’s Humboldt University, Macron spoke in impeccable English on the imperative of giving Europe a chance.
And of giving the future a chance: Macron’s speech offered a powerful and convincing case that he is the last great French hope for a European future based on a common market and a common morality, a single currency and a singular commitment to the continent’s core values.
Though his immediate audience was Humboldt’s faculty and students, Macron was in fact addressing a far wider audience. He was seeking to mobilize French as well as German youths, and — in a reference to the program that allows EU citizens to study in other member states — the non-Erasmus as well as the Erasmus generations. Based on the audience’s response to his speech, and his surging poll numbers in France, Macron — despite not having the support of an established party, or perhaps becausehe doesn’t — is no longer the dark horse but instead the white knight for a growing number of French voters. However, what this particular knight promises, beyond verve and vitality, is not yet clear.
This author certainly isn’t holding back on the Macron infatuation. Within the first three paragraphs alone he refers to the man as “the last great French hope” and a “white knight.” Amazing.
But that’s not the most telling part of the above excerpts. I find it particularly remarkable that the author positions this manufactured candidate as some sort of outsider. Sure, he may not have the backing of an established political party, but those who do back him have far more power than that.
I came to this conclusion based on an extremely enlightening article published in the FT titled, Emmanuel Macron’s Rothschild Years Make Him an Easy Election Target. Based on the title, you’d think that the man merely had a normal, brief stint at the bank, but you’d be wrong. As you read, it becomes clear that he was groomed from day one by a Rothschild partner and ended up on a fast track like I’ve never seen before. But first, let’s examine the first two paragraphs of the article, which betrays the man’s intentions.
When Emmanuel Macron told friends in 2008 he was joining Rothschild, the prestigious investment bank, the then 30-year-old civil servant was warned it could scupper a future career in politics.
“You’re conscious that banking is not any kind of job? And Rothschild not any kind of bank?” said one friend to the man who, nine years later, would become frontrunner in France’s presidential election.
Contrary to media myths about a “white knight” who came out of nowhere to save France, this character has had his eye on high political office for at least a decade. Indeed, it appears Macron has been groomed by powerful financiers for a very long time. As the FT also notes:
The graduate of ENA, the elite school that breeds France’s future leaders, came recommended by powerful alumni of the institution, including François Henrot, a longtime Rothschild partner. But young bankers were not so impressed.
“He was the guy who would constantly say ‘thank you’,” a former colleague said. “He didn’t know what ebitda [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] was. He didn’t try to hide it. And instead of looking it up in a corporate finance book, he asked around, which was disarming.”
Yet it wasn’t just a Rothschild sponsor who took the young Macron under his wing…
What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government, says Sophie Javary, head of BNP Paribas’ corporate finance in Europe, who was asked by Mr Henrot to coach Mr Macron in the first year.
This is straight up bizarre. It appears Macron was so important to banking interests the had to form a consortium of firms to all pitch in to help him out. Yet it gets stranger still.
On the Atos deal, Mr Macron “had a fairly junior role at the time — he would be asked to redo the financial models on Excel, the basics,” recalled an adviser. But a few days after the deal was announced, Mr Macron was made a partner. A few months later, he stunned colleagues and rivals by winning a role in Nestlé’s purchase of Pfizer’s infant food operations.
As someone who spent ten years on Wall Street, I can tell you with certainty that you don’t go from updating excel models at a junior level to partner overnight. Someone extraordinarily powerful was pulling all sorts of strings for this guy. There seems to be little doubt about this.
Further hints that Macron is a total manufactured elitist creation can be seen with the following.
At the bank, Mr Macron mastered the art of networking and navigated around the numerous conflicts of interest that arise in close-knit Parisian business circles, making good use of his connections as an Inspecteur des Finances — an elite corps of the very highest-ranking graduates from ENA.
In 2010, he advised, for free, the staff of Le Monde when the newspaper was put up for sale. Journalists at the daily started doubting his loyalty when they happened upon him in conversation with Mr Minc, who was representing a bidding consortium that the staff opposed. They did not know that it was Mr Minc, a fellow Inspecteur des Finances, who had helped the young Mr Macron secure his interview at Rothschild.
A media executive who was part of the same consortium recalled: “It wasn’t clear who Emmanuel worked for. He was around, trading intelligence, friends with everyone. It was smart, because he got to know everybody in the media world.”
Indeed, who does he work for? I’m sure the French people would like to know.
Meanwhile, Macron is like a conspiracy website’s wet dream. Not only was he groomed by Rothschild bankers, he was also a Bilderberg meeting attendee in 2014. Of course.
Incredibly enough, Macron’s personal life is just as bizarre. Wikipedia notes:
Raised in a non-religious family, he was baptized a Roman Catholic at his own request at age 12.
Impressive that the man figured out religion at such a young age, but what’s even more bizarre is what he did three years later. At 15, shortly after discovering Jesus, he decided to seduce his high school teacher who was 24 years older and married with three children. I’m not in the habit of quoting Slate, but an article on this topic published there was excellent. We learn:
At 39, Emmanuel Macron would be France’s youngest-ever president. His wife, Brigitte Trogneux, just turned 64. The two met when Macron was 15 years old; Trogneux was his high-school drama teacher. After putting off the young Macron’s advances for a while, Trogneux eventually divorced her husband—the father of her three children—and moved to Paris to be with Macron, who’d left his hometown to finish high school in the capital city. They married more than a decade after meeting, in 2007.
Media accounts of their once-illicit relationship have offered it as evidence of Macron’s daring personality and willingness to break with tradition, qualities that helped make him a presidential frontrunner without a political party or any experience in elected office. “Their love affair was the kind of audacious undertaking that has defined Mr. Macron’s life and career,” the New York Timesreports. “His sheer drive, his focus and his willingness to leapfrog in a country where most success is built step by step make him more like the entrepreneurs he admires than a typical politician.” The Associated Press writes that, “from his teenage romance with a teacher to his recent ambition to become president, Emmanuel Macron often is described as unconventional and tenacious.”
This is a strange way to frame a romantic relationship between a teenager and his 40-year-old teacher. If Macron were a young woman who’d seduced her male high-school teacher away from his wife and family, her determination and ultimate success would not be proffered as signs of her leadership skills, the beginning of a life as an effective politician. She would be cast as an opportunistic Jezebel with daddy issues who slept her way into every political role she got. If Macron were an ex-teacher who’d left his wife to be with a teenage student, we’d rightly cast doubt on his maturity and morals. Depending on the details of the case, I might think he should have lost his teaching job and wonder which combination of possible gross reasons caused him to reject women his own age.
Swap Macron and Trogneux’s gender again, and the story of a goal-oriented romancer would be spun as a conventional tale of an unhinged, desperate homewrecker. Conquering resistance through patient pursuit would, to most observers, seem like obsessed-stalker behavior coming from a young girl and sexual-predator behavior coming from an older man. Macron’s disregard of Trogneux’s initial rejection—and his dogged fixation on making her his girlfriend despite her marriage and his age—don’t ring such alarm bells because we’re far more used to seeing older men with way-younger women.
What’s most notable about the above is how corporate media such as The New York Times celebrates Macron’s less than savory behavior in his pursuit of Trogneux. It may not be fake news, but it certainly looks a lot like pro-Macron propaganda.
Finally, I’d like to end with the following tweet, which I think summarizes the situation.
The bottom line is Macron is a total fake. Indeed, he’s almost embarrassingly phony, but will it matter? My feeling is that he will probably win the May 7th runoff, but I don’t think the spread will be anywhere near as wide as everyone is predicting. I continue to think that it won’t be France, but more likely Italy, which will put the final nail in the EU coffin.
As always, we shall see.
French voters are confronted with a difficult choice on Sunday for the run-off of the presidential election: Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who served as an economy minister in the current —and strikingly unpopular— government, and the leader of the far-right, xenophobic, anti-European National Front Marine Le Pen.
Facing the Front National leader was supposed to make Macron’s victory easier, but the candidate’s arrogance and tactical mistakes have dangerously boosted abstention. On Tuesday, an internal poll of supporters of defeated far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon showed that just over 65 percent will spoil their voting papers or stay at home. Communist-backed Melenchon, who leads the “France Insoumise,” Unbowed France, movement, scored more than seven million votes as he finished fourth in the election’s first round on April 23.
While the French mainstream media and the political elites have started a campaign shaming leftists for allegedly paving the way to the election of Le Pen, teleSUR contacted two of them in a bid to better understand the political landscape.
Diane Scott, chief redactor of Incise magazine, voted for the Anti-Capitalist Party’s candidate Philippe Poutou in the first round, although she claims to be “happy” with the Unbowed’s good score. She said she refuses to choose between the two candidates imposed by France’s two-party system and has decided to abstain on Sunday. She explains her decision in an article published by Mediapart.
Olivier Tonneau, lecturer in modern languages at Homerton College, is a member of Melenchon’s “Parti de Gauche,” Left Party, and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. After destroying the arguments shaming abstention in articles for Mediapart and The Guardian, he confessed that he will eventually vote for Macron on Sunday, because he fears that Macron’s mistakes will end up electing Le Pen.
“The most important will be to fight the far-right vote on the long term, and understand people who would rather abstain,” he told teleSUR.
1. Macron is the candidate imposed by the establishment with the fake appearance of democracy.
With their discourse, Macron’s supporters are turning “democracy into what they imagined it should have never stopped being: a useful illusion,” said Scott, comparing the current presidential campaign with the 2005 campaign in favor of the neoliberal European Treaty. When voters rejected it in a popular referendum, the mainstream media criticized their decision with classist disdain, before the political elites approved the treaty in Congress despite the result, in a total denial of democracy. Now, said Scott, the “didactic disdain turned into hateful shaming.”
Meanwhile, added Tonneau, the mainstream media have tried hard to discredit Melenchon as soon as he surged in the polls as a challenger. For instance, Melenchon’s proposal to solve Guiana’s difficulties (a French former colony located in South America) with economic cooperation and solidarity with the members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples, ALBA, was translated in the French media by: “if Melenchon is elected, France will join a military alliance, ALBA, including Iran and Syria.”
2. Macron participated in a government responsible for human rights abuses and democratic violations.
“Personally, since the state of emergency and the labor reform, I vowed not to vote for the Socialist Party whatever happens,” said Scott. “Shall we accept the dictatorship and the restoration of slavery in the name of the fight against the National Front?”
She also recalled the killing of an environment activist by the military police and the numerous cases of Black or Arab citizens killed or raped by police officers, while the Socialist Party government of Francois Hollande was in power.
Hollande also repeatedly resorted to using executive orders and constitutional articles in order to bypass democratic institutions, while the state of emergency — prolonged several times— justified violent police raids in peaceful Muslim homes, and even the house arrest of dozens of environmental activists across the country.
“I don’t underestimate the threat (of a National Front government), I only state that serious steps have been taken,” said Scott.
Tonneau added that Macron has already announced he will not hesitate to resort to executive orders if elected. Macron also insisted that he wanted voters to support him only if they supported his program —a strategy meant to strictly stick to his program when elected, but dangerously alienating leftist voters on May 7.
3. Fighting fascism is part of the establishment’s strategy to remain in power.
“We are not your sweeper-car, picking up the trash behind you as you are destroying society little by little,” said Tonneau.
Melenchon himself was victim of this hateful shaming, after he refused to order his supporters to vote for Macron against Le Pen, like he did in 2002 — then encouraging them to vote for the incumbent President Jacques Chirac of The Republicans in order to block Jean-Marie Le Pen’s election.
But 15 years later, noted Scott, the scenario is quite different: while the 2002 results shocked everyone, this time the traditional parties and mainstream media prepared and expected a secured victory against the far-right.
This argument was shockingly evidenced by Macron’s triumphant celebration of the first round’s results in a fancy brasserie of Paris, yet with less than a quarter of support, already taking for granted the anti-Le Pen vote in his favor for the second round.
The strategic “anti-Le Pen vote” is meaningless, argues Scott, because Le Pen is part of the strategy of the mainstream parties to keep power and carry out their neoliberal agenda. Macron, a former investment banker at Rothschild, may not be officially part of such parties, but he inspired most of the economic policies of the socialist government. “The capital does not even make the effort to produce politicians but seeks them out straight at the source,” she observed.
As for Tonneau, what causes the surge of the far right across the world is not the abstention of leftist voters, but the “dictatorship of the finance world,” which Macron represents. Moreover, if Melenchon had ordered to support Macron, he would have likely lost a lot of support among the Unbowed militants, as they refuse to “bow” to the system.
4. Shaming right-wing voters that will vote for Le Pen.
Last but not least, Macron makes no effort in wooing potential left-wing votes. He affirmed that he will not change his program, nor negotiate with other candidates in a bid to appeal to the three-quarters of French people that did not vote for him on April 23.
The hateful shaming has only be directed to the leftist voters, and not to supporters of conservative Francois Fillon (20 percent in the first round) who will either abstain (26 percent of them, according to an Ifop survey released Tuesday) or vote for Le Pen (30 percent). Meanwhile, the same voices do not seem to have any interest in convincing Le Pen’s core supporters to change their minds.
Melenchon’s political movement, however, managed to convince abstentionists and National Front’s voters more than any other party, reflected by an astonishing 9-point surge in the polls in less than a month before the first round, recalled Tonneau. The populations abandoned by the Socialist Party — like the working class, the youth and the generations of French immigrants living in the marginalized suburbs — voted for Melenchon instead of an expected blank vote or a Le Pen vote, according to various studies.