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What would say an Indian sage to Emmanuel Macron

There was once a young king, even younger than Emmanuel Macron, who conquered power thanks to a sagacious adviser. The young king was called Chandragupta, and he was about to inaugurate the reign of the Maurya dynasty, which reigned over the first Indian empire from 323 to 185 BC. The advisor was called Kautilya, but he was called Chanakya or the crafty, so great was his mastery of the art of politics.macron-dilemma-marketexpress-in

In particular, he owes this aphorism of great wisdom: “The sovereign must listen without delay to all urgent requests without ever rejecting them. If they postpone them, they will prove to be too difficult or even impossible to deal with it. ” Is not that Mr. Macron’s situation?

The first round of the French presidential election has indeed delivered a life-size photograph quite clear of the demands of the French people, that the second round did not finally change despite a seemingly massive victory of the young new president. Broadly speaking, four major political families, but primarily socio-economic and ideological, families have expressed themselves. They have each obtained between 7 and 8 million votes, and there is nothing to hope for now that one family outweighs the others.

Four political areas tough to reconcile

First, that of Emmanuel Macron (EM), which could be described as liberal-liberal on a double cultural and economic axis, collected 8.4 million votes, ie 18% of registered voters, a little more than one in six, including more than a quarter of “useful vote” against the National Front (FN) according to opinion polls. There was little change in the lines during the second as Mr. Macron got 20.5 million votes but more than half to eliminate the FN candidate and not by positively supporting the liberal EM program.

The second family, that of the qualifier of the second round, Mrs Le Pen, whose 7.6 million votes in the first round, that is divided by half between a popular protest vote and the expression of a traditional French far right who went until allying with Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Mr. Macron made a significant gesture when he visited the Whirpool factory, that will be relocated to Poland in 2018. But his answers to the massive redundancies -vocational training and research of a buyer- have not really convinced a working class affected by mass unemployment in France. The proof, Ms. Le Pen gained 12.4 million votes in the second round, more than double that of her father in the second round of the 2002 presidential election against Jacques Chirac. Never has France seen such a strength of a National Socialist party which is the sheer FN ideology.

The absentees of the second round

Then there are the other two families not represented during the second round, whose votes were divided between the two candidates but and the abstention or the vote Nil. Nearly 17 million voters refused to express a choice between EM and FN, i.e., more than one French out of three.

On the one hand, the politically conservative and economically liberal current represented by Mr. Fillon (Les Républicains). This candidate received a big win in the autumn of 2016, but some morality matters totally discredited him. Despite this, he got 7 to 8 million votes also in the 1st round which was then divided between the three main voting options of the second round. EM actually won without fighting those who were close enough to him, including the center-right (UDI) and the progressive right (Juppé). There remains the other half, including the Catholic tradition which has never stopped hesitating between its values ​​and its soul to the point that the Catholic hierarchy did not express any voting instructions unlike the other churches clearly in favor of Macron. Half voted for the FN; half stayed home.

The last family, between 8 and 9 million voters around a radical social, anti-liberal and ecological movement, called the alter-globalist movement. They are at least as European as Macron, but not for the same type of European construction. Messrs. Mélenchon and Hamon expressed their hopes, but with a very strong divergence on the way to negotiate with the European Union: to threaten to leave the EU and thus the Eurozone or to fight within the existing institutions. We found this divergence in a very different vote during the second round: in favor of EM from most of the supporters of the socialist Hamon, rather the abstention or the void vote among the Insoumis of Mélenchon. Will they succeed in making their unity for what the French call the 3rd round, ie the elections to parliament? Nothing less sure.

The Macron Dilemma

Everyone agrees that Mr. Macron won the French presidential election but four figures show that his victory is fragile. He was first elected by only 43% of the registrants with a record abstention or nil rate of 34%. It was then a default choice for nearly half of its voters who voted for him not by supporting positively his program but to block the road to the FN. Third, the latter gathered a record of votes -11 million – and attempt now to present itself as the only opposition force. Finally, two-thirds of the French polled after their vote said they do not want to give Macron an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

The only salvation route for Mr. Macron is then either to try to “divide and rule” – rather the current tactics – or to reach out to create a “republican front” with a consensual program.

The task is difficult, if not impossible according to his advisers, but that Chanakya would, of course, recommend a wise king. This is what is at stake in the coming weeks, with both internal and international consequences, since Macron will have to choose between one Atlanticist policy or a Gaullo-Mitterrandian diplomacy, that is to say, a very French option of a policy of non-alignment but not Anti-American by principle.