Would the French Far Right Moderate Once in Power?

Nouriel Roubini

By Nouriel Roubini

ARIS – Following a trip to Paris in late 2022, I wrote a controversial research note pushing back against the conventional wisdom of the time. Following his re-election earlier that year, French President Emmanuel Macron, I argued, would continue to rule like Napoleon, hubristically enacting prudent but unpopular reforms by decree, rather than by securing parliamentary majorities. I predicted that by the time of the next European elections, his party would have fallen fully out of favor, allowing Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally to win in a landslide.

In this scenario, Macron would be left to govern with an even weaker minority government, and investors, fearful of a Le Pen victory in the 2027 presidential election, would impose market discipline: higher interest-rate premiums and lower stock prices. But this would become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the market would be forcing Macron to push through even more unpopular austerity measures by decree.

Unfortunately, this slow-motion train wreck has proceeded as I expected. Following his party’s rout in the European elections last month, Macron unwisely dissolved the National Assembly and called a snap election. At best, he will be left with a hung parliament and a minority government too weak to withstand a no-confidence vote. But the more likely scenario is that National Rally will win the election and run the next government in an emasculating “cohabitation” arrangement with Macron’s administration.

Read the full Project Syndicate article.
Nouriel Roubini is a Professor Emeritus of Economics and International Business and the Robert Stansky Research Faculty Fellow.