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...Even those who voted for him often did so by default in order to prevent the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, from winning. More importantly, say critics, this unusual presidential run-off had two important consequences. First, that Mr. Macron’s ideas were never really discussed in depth. Second, that the new President has no proper electorate. Instead, many believe that his supporters are little more than an uncomfortable coalition of ill-matched groups and individuals. They do not share a common vision and they certainly do not agree with each other. When the parliamentary election rolls around in June, they will disperse and Mr. Macron’s self-proclaimed “movement” will fall apart. A clear victory It is quite possible that the new President will fail to gain a majority of seats in the French Parliament. But are all of these accusations about his campaign true? The evidence suggests otherwise. ...The Hindu on May 8, 2017, 11:17 p.m.
...And, at the very top, almost every French President has at least one major corruption scandal to his name. The problem is made worse by what the French call the ‘cumul des mandats’, which allows politicians to hold multiple offices at the national, regional and local levels simultaneously. In 2016, a staggering 86% of Members of Parliament held another elected office, ensuring a steady flow of political patronage and fraud. Deep roots A few recent examples will give us a sense of how widespread the problem is. Take the centre-right politician, Alain Juppé, for example. For the past few years, opinion polls have consistently shown him to be the strongest candidate to contest next month’s presidential election, but he was found guilty of abuse of public funds in 2004. It is the same story with Jacques Chirac. ...The Hindu on March 18, 2017, 12:48 a.m.