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May 05, 2017

Issues Facing the Next President of France: Will Disruption Further Divide?

France’s presidential election is a potential turning point for Europe, which continues to reel from Britain’s decision to exit the European Union. Ethno-nationalist populism has been gaining ground in France and elsewhere, and the race’s dominant issues are continent-wide concerns: immigration, terrorism, the role of religion in society, globalism, economic growth, and the fate of the European Union.

In the first round of the election, voters tossed aside candidates from France’s traditionally dominant parties across the political spectrum, sending the message that France must change to meet the challenges of economic growth and inequality, unemployment, refugee integration, and terrorism. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen both represent a clear repudiation of France’s longstanding political establishment, but the similarity ends there.