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GLOBAL PULSE: Emmanuel Macron’s new, tougher election ahead, Angela Merkel finds unexpected support, and why can’t Trump and Hillary move on.

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Winning the French presidency was the easy bit. Emmanuel Macron has another bruising election to win in June.

To be able to govern, and not be sidelined by a hostile parliament, he has to now secure a majority of seats in the National Assembly. If he fails, the country faces political paralysis.

He has to start from the scratch. He has no MP, no formal political party, his nascent movement, En Marche!, has never fielded a candidate in any election. According to its charter, 50 percent of candidates must have no prior parliamentary experience, come from different ethnic backgrounds, and at least half must be women.

Unlike the presidential ballot — in which parties from across the political spectrum urged their supporters to vote for him over his opponent Marine Le Pen — Macron’s rivals will now devote their energies to defeating him.



Macron’s win “offered powerful relief to everyone who had feared that France could become the next country to succumb to the wave of populism, nationalism and anti-globalism sweeping through Western democracies”, said The New York Times editorial.

That a far-right nationalist like Le Pen could reach the second round of voting means “he is taking charge of a nation deeply divided, much like the United States, Britain and other major democracies, with many people feeling marginalized by globalization, economic stagnation, an unresponsive government, unemployment, faceless terrorism and a tide of immigrants”.

Voters have “inflicted a major reverse on demagogic nationalism. Their country is safer for it. So is ours. So is Europe”, said The Guardian.

“Not since Napoleon has anybody leapt to the top of French public life with such speed,” said a columnist in The Washington Post.



It wasn’t just the French people who voted for an advocate of EU and defeated Frexit sentiments. Even German voters appear to be not in the mood for a disruption.

Voters in Germany’s northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, handed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party an unexpected victory in a state election on Sunday, suggesting that Germans were willing to back the center-right in a year when she is seeking a fourth term.

Even as their European partners have expressed displeasure with a more centralized European Union and the threat of increased immigration from the Middle East and Africa, Germans have largely tended to support stability at the ballot box.

Next week, Germans in the country’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, will vote — seen as an indicator of the national mood before the race for a new Parliament on Sept. 24.



Ivanka’s got a new female empowerment book, and Dad’s going to war against women, says a writer in The New York Times.

The Trump administration has restricted health insurance coverage for contraceptives, passed a law that will send insurance rates for maternal health care soaring, will defund Planned Parenthood, and picked a new public health official who believes that abortions cause breast cancer.

At around the same time, daughter Ivanka Trump released a new book that calls on readers to fight against “barriers that disproportionately affect women” at work. But then, the book isn’t exactly aimed at the people who have problems paying for their prescriptions.

One review called the book, “not really offensive so much as witlessly derivative”.  Ivanka’s a now an important power centre in the Trump administration, and she ought to be mobilizing support for things like easy access to contraceptives.



Are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton unable to move on? Six months after elections, both of them are still “waging last year’s campaign, undermining their promises to help America heal”, says The New York Times.

Trump after all has a nation to run. Yet he continues to hack away at Clinton in remarks and on Twitter, and to rhapsodize about his campaign. Foreign allies have begun ridiculing his fixation.

“Nothing in recent history can match the sorry spectacle of a sitting president so desperate for adoration and so indifferent to actual governing that the only satisfaction he can get is from perpetuating the campaign.”

Clinton also seems unable to shake free. In a television interview, she referred to the president as “my opponent”.


Picture Courtesy: Facebook @EmmanuelMacron

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