An unprecedented situation

2016 was a year of electoral surprises. The referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in June and Trump’s success in the US Presidential Election in November has heighted world political and economic uncertainties. France now has its turn in the limelight with a Presidential Election contest that has confounded the pundits. After the centre-right Republican Party primaries in December, François Fillon seemed to have the Presidency within his grasp but today he is some 6 to 8 points behind in the opinion polls after a number of allegations regarding the illegal employment of family members which has resulted in a formal investigation against him. Now, with just few weeks to go before the first round, right-wing Front National candidate Marine le Pen and centrist En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron look to be the favourites to get through to the second round. This is unprecedented in that neither of the two favourites for the second round comes from a party with a substantial representation in the current National Assembly. This raises the question of to what extent either candidate could command a parliamentary majority in June if they were to be elected in May.