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FT: Le Pen, Trump and the Atlantic Counter-Revolution

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Here in the United States, there is no question in 2017 which we are more keenly interested in than the outcome of the upcoming elections in France and the Netherlands:

“France and the US both regard themselves as exceptional nations. But their history has often followed a similar pattern. The American revolution of 1775-83 was swiftly followed by the French revolution of 1789 — leading some historians to talk of the late 18th century as the period of the “Atlantic revolutions”.

Will future historians one day be writing about the “Atlantic counter-revolutions” of the early 21st century? It could happen if the election of Donald Trump as president of the US last November is followed by the election of Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, as president of France this May. …”

If France elects Le Pen, our momentum could be unstoppable. It would unleash a domino effect of resurgent nationalism across Europe. The French presidency is a powerful office:

“France’s electoral system is unique in Western Europe. In most countries, the head of state is either a hereditary monarch or a president indirectly elected by parliament. These leaders leave most, if not all, of the day-to-day governance of the country to the head of government: the prime minister. In France, presidents are directly elected by the public and have substantial powers, making them the most powerful national leaders in the region. They can appoint and fire ministers, including the prime minister, almost at will, and submit bills to a national referendum. They can take extraordinary powers in case of a national crisis. They can also dissolve the lower house to provoke a snap election, and the electoral fate of the congressmen is so strongly linked to that of the president that their parliamentary majority is much more obedient than in the United States Congress. …”


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