Now, if Marine Le Pen were elected president of France, which is a non-negligible probability - still a good deal less than 50 percent if we look at opinion polls and other factors today. The first challenge she would face will be in the national assembly elections which follow just a few weeks later. There is nothing to suggest that her party is capable of winning a majority in the national assembly. Without a majority in the national assembly, she is going to find it very hard to call a referendum on France’s membership about the Europe or the European Union. There are mechanisms by which she could do it but it would involve going through constitutional courts. It would be very similar to something which Charles de Gaulle had to do back in 1958 to change France’s constitution to allow him to establish a Republic which is not an easy process by any means. But, the mere factor of Le Pen being elected is certainly going to send shockwaves through financial markets through Europe. It will be very hard for the Germans, whoever their Chancellor is, to work with Le Pen and it could still spell very bad news in the future well-being of Europe and the European Union even if she were unable to organise a referendum. So this is certainly an election which we need to watch very closely. Right now, Emmanuel Macron is certainly the favourite to win the election. I think the assumption is that Francois Fillon will not withdraw before the final days of nomination which is March 17. There is still a provision by which he could withdraw thereafter and the election will then probably be postponed for several weeks to allow a new candidate to try to gather momentum and that could change the equilibrium significantly. For the time being, I think we can reasonably assume that we are looking at a four-way race – Le Pen, Macron, Fillon and Hamon of the socialist party if he could gather some sort of electoral pact with the extreme left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. But that is pretty unlikely as things stand. All the evidence today is pointing to a Le Pen-Macron run off and although some supporters of the Fillon’s party may then defect to Le Pen and some from the extreme left may then vote for Marine Le Pen, It does look like Macron would win by a clear margin in those circumstances. But keep in mind, we have seen many surprising twists in this election campaign so far, and we can’t rule out further twists in the story between now and early May.
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