Fears regarding the rise of nationalist sentiment and the demise of free market conservatism in the West may be a bit overstated, as the French people are demonstrating in their rejection of the National Front.
The conservative Francois Fillon seems set to carry the French presidential elections against nationalist leader Marine Le Pen handily, according to polls, which means that Fillon will have to start crafting how he intends to lead in a world where UK Prime Minister May and German Chancellor Merkel remain perhaps the best chance at a center-right coalition for the European Union. From CNBC:
Next year’s presidentials in the euro zone’s second-largest economy are shaping up to be another test of the strength of anti-establishment parties in Western countries, with French voters angry with stubbornly high unemployment and fearful after a wave of Islamist militant Attacks.
In a country that saw months of street protests earlier this year against labor reforms that are much milder than those Fillon proposes, his far-reaching plans give both the ruling Socialists and Le Pen’s National Front (FN) some hope that they can make a comeback.
. . .
Fillon’s misgivings about gay marriage, and belief that immigrants should assimilate to French cultural values, could make him a more difficult opponent on social issues for the FN, and an easier target for the left.
Fillon has also raised eyebrows in Germany by espousing warmer ties with Russia than Hollande has pursued.
Still, this is a rather hopeful sign for the conservative right. Free markets aren’t dead yet…