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5/8/17

French Presidential Elections: With Le Pen defeat, Europe’s far-right surge stalls - Michael Birnbaum and Anthony Faiola

EU-France: United we stand -Divided we fall
The anti-E.U. French leader Marine Le Pen’s larger-than-expected defeat Sunday in her nation’s presidential election was a crushing reality check for the far-right forces who seek to overthrow Europe: Despite the victories for Brexit and Donald Trump, they are likely to be shut out of power for years.

Given one choice after another since Trump’s U.S. presidential victory, Western European voters have delivered mainstream candidates to office despite a post-

November sense that an anti-immigrant populist wave was washing over the Western world. Far-right candidates in Austria, the Netherlands and France have faltered. The euroskeptic far-right party in Germany has collapsed in recent polls ahead of September elections. And an unforgiving election calendar now offers few routes into power for years.

The thwarted momentum comes despite clear evidence that views that would have been taboo to express just a few years ago are no longer too toxic to exclude politicians from coming a breath away from leadership. When Le Pen’s father reached a presidential runoff in 2002, his opponent refused even to debate with him, so unacceptable to the mainstream were his views. This time, many French citizens sat out the election altogether because they detested both Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron — even though the pro-European centrist Macron offered a vastly different platform from his opponent.

Le Pen’s result, about 34 percent, was still a historic high for her party.

“French people have chosen the continuity candidate,” a visibly disappointed Le Pen said in a brief concession address. She said she would seek to rename her National Front party, a measure of the extent to which her defeat rattled supporters who just weeks ago harbored hopes of capturing the Elysee Palace.

Now the test for Europe’s future will be whether Macron can rekindle France’s relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after it languished during the five-year term of France’s current president, François Hollande, whose popularity hit record lows. If France continues to stagnate, Sunday’s victory may turn out to be a five-year reprieve from the far-right rather than a decisive rejection of it.

Note EU-Digest: European political  leaders better realize that even after this win, it can not not be business as usual from now on. They must come up with more attractive and innovative ideas and solutions to create a more united, independent, stronger, and people friendly European Union. An EU which has the courage to move away from being the US "lap-dog", specially when it comes to participating in US  foreign policies and military adventures around  the world. 

Read more: French Presidential elections: With Le Pen defeat, Europe’s far-right surge stalls - The Washington Post

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