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President-elect Emmanuel Macron poses for a picture with supporters after a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, Paris, May 10, 2017 (Pool photo by Eric Feferberg via AP).

Can Macron Succeed Amid France’s Political Field of Ruins?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France’s presidential election capped a surprise-filled campaign that upended the country’s political landscape. This has been most widely noted with regard to France’s established political parties, the Socialist Party on the left and the Republicans on the right, neither of whose candidates made it to the second-round of voting last Sunday.

But the campaign signaled not just a remaking of the party landscape, but also a generational transition in French politics, one that goes beyond Macron’s youth. At 39, he is the youngest elected president of France and among the youngest heads of state of any established democracy in the modern age. On his path to victory, the political neophyte benefited from strokes of good fortune that can best be described as the stars aligning. The same can’t be said for an entire echelon of French political heavyweights who were relegated to irrelevance or worse over the course of the campaign. ...

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