A sense of déjà vu is emerging ahead of the French and German elections this year, the apparent view is that Marine Le Pen cannot win the French elections, and early polls seem to be indicative of this belief.
I wrote extensively on the topic of Brexit and Trump, both before and after each campaign, explaining why and how it was possible that both could occur in 2016. You would have thought that after such a year as 2016, one would have taken polls with a much greater pinch of salt.
Brexit is widely considered an angry vote, with large portions of the UK (except London) voting to leave the EU. The reason? A thriving London meant the rest of the UK felt left behind by globalisation, and the voices of many were not being recognised.
The same is true for the Trump rhetoric, the idea of making ‘America great again’ appealed to a particular demographic, and the campaign was built around the fears of some. Whilst Trump did not win the majority vote, he did win the election.
How could this be relevant to the French elections? Although it is true that historically, the French are not one for being copycats when it comes to political changes, there is one key area that has affected the French more than the UK and US combined in recent years.
France has been subjected to a number of terror attacks, and if there is one advantage that La Pen has, her stance towards immigration may appeal to a larger portion of French nationals.
It’s not just immigration that is a concern for France, its high unemployment rates and shrinking manufacturing sector makes La Pen’s policies more attractive this year.
A Le Pen victory could spell bad news for the EU and the Euro, as the prospect of another Referendum on EU membership could cause havoc for the single market, which already faces huge challenges in 2017.