Only One Way to 'Stave Off Disaster' in French Election

Country votes on Sunday
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2017 11:55 AM CDT
Will an ISIS Attack Shake Up France's Election?
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

France votes Sunday in a presidential election further roiled by the fatal shooting of a police officer in an attack claimed by ISIS. On Friday, President Trump tweeted that the shooting would "have a big effect" on the vote, without offering specifics. But the Washington Post points out that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has espoused anti-immigration sentiments similar to Trump's, and she doubled down Friday by calling for the reinstatement of border checks and the deportation of foreigners being monitored by intelligence agencies. A look at election coverage:

  • Eleven candidates are running, but four are neck-and-neck: Le Pen; Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who says he's neither left nor right; the scandal-plagued Francois Fillon, the only establishment candidate in the running; and Jean-Luc Melenchon, known as the "French Bernie Sanders." See NPR for quick bios on each.
  • Assuming no candidate gets 50%, the top two finishers go to a runoff on May 7, explains a primer at the Globe and Mail.

  • The Guardian has a profile of Le Pen, who has tried to distance herself from her Holocaust-denying father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front Party she now leads. (She is regularly accused of anti-Semitism herself, however.) Their relationship imploded when she kicked him out of the party; he disowned her and they no longer speak. An analysis at the Atlantic says she specializes in demonizing Jews and Muslims while pitting them against each other.
  • At 39, the centrist Macron would be France's youngest leader since Napoleon, per a profile at RTE. In its own profile, the BBC notes an unusual aspect of his life that has made headlines: His wife, 24 years his senior and married with kids when they met, was his drama teacher when he was a teenager.
  • Former President Obama, popular in France, made a point to call Macron on Thursday, notes Time.
  • There's much talk of a "Frexit," meaning the exit of France from the European Union. Le Pen and Melenchon in particular have raised the prospect. The New York Times has a look at that and other factors at play.
  • John Oliver thinks the stakes are huge for Europe and the world, and he explains why here.
  • One person likely to be happy with the outcome? Vladimir Putin. That's because Melenchon, Le Pen, and Fillon are "unabashed pro-Putin populists," per Quartz.
  • At Slate, Yascha Mounk makes the case that a victory by Macron "is the only realistic way to stave off disaster," given the alternatives.
(More France stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.