The final slate of candidates for French national elections in April-May is nearly complete, and judging by French government bond risk spiking, the decision to choose radical left wing Benoit Hamon to represent the French Socialists has investors worried about the fiscal future of the country.
As MishTalk.com's Michael Shedlock notes, The radical Left is cheering.
Partial results from about 60 per cent of the polling stations showed that Mr Hamon, a former education minister, attracted 59 per cent of the vote in the primary run-off, against Manuel Valls, the former prime minister, who secured 41 per cent of the vote. More than 1m voters turned out for the final round of the primary.
Mr Hamon’s win marks a fierce rejection of the business-friendly policies implemented by President François Hollande. It reveals a desire among Socialist party sympathisers to return to core leftwing policies after Mr Hollande’s unpopular term.
Radicals Delirious With Joy
It’s quite a hoot if not outright insane to label Hollande’s policies “business-friendly”.
Yet, compared to Hamon, nearly anyone would look business-friendly.
Benoît Hamon’s Platform
Benoît Hamon is a 49-year-old former education minister. Here is his platform.
- Universal basic income.
- Tax on robots.
- Progressive taxation of wealth.
- Reduction of tax loopholes.
- 32-hour working week.
- Legalization of marijuana.
- National conference on “environmental democracy”.
- 50% renewable energy by 2025.
- Differentiated VAT for the “most virtuous products”.
- Ban on pesticides.
- Better repayments for dental care.
- A “Sixth Republic”.
- Transformation of the Senate into “college of territories”.
- The right of foreigners to vote in local elections.
- “Humanitarian visa” and redo of France a land of asylum.
- “Vote blanc”. Hamon supports a provision that takes into account a vote for “none of the above”.
- Media antitrust law.
- Labor law repeal to provide additional protection to employees.
- Help facilitate the takeover of SCOP companies by employees.
- Recognize burn-out as an occupational disease.
The above 20 points translated from Benoît Hamon, favorite of the primary: his very left program.
Amazing Twitter Performance
A couple months ago was unknown. A week ago he won Hamon 35% of the vote in a seven-way rate. Today Hamon trounced Valls in a two-way match, winning the primary.
How did he get there? The new-fashioned way. Hamon has a huge following on social media including Twitter.
5-6 Way Race
It has not yet been confirmed if the Democratic Movement (Mouvement démocrate) will contest this presidential election. Bayrou has not yet decided.
Slate of Candidates
Source: French Election Polls
With only 5% of the vote, one can rule out Bayrou if he does run. But until that decision, there is a possibility Bayrou steps out and backs one of the other candidates.
LFI (La France Insoumise) Unsubmissive France candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is a current MEP and former former co-president of the Left Party. He will splinter the Left if he stays in.
Should Mélenchon decide to step aside and support Hamon, extreme possibilities such as Hamon vs Le Pen are not out of the question.
I am not suggesting this is likely, but little would surprise me at this point.
Meanwhile, it’s important to note that former poll leader Fillon has slipped. He seriously damaged his credibility in a payment scandal involving his wife.
For details, please see Prosecutor Investigates Leading French Candidate Fillon for Paying his Wife €500,000 from MP Funds.
If prosecuted, Fillon threatened to step down.
Fillon’s Radical New Plan
In an effort to get his campaign on track, François Fillon Outlines Radical Economic Plan.
Speaking in front of more than 13,000 supporters in Paris, the Republican party nominee and election frontrunner rejected claims surrounding his wife, Penelope Fillon.
Mr Fillon sought on Sunday to divert attention back to his programme, laying out the most business-friendly, free-market economic platform in the presidential contest.
His proposals include scrapping the limit on weekly working hours, extending retirement age, slashing employment benefits and cutting 500,000 civil service jobs to fund tax breaks for companies — sticking largely to the radical platform that helped him win his party’s nomination in November.
Can Le Pen Win?
Cutting corporate taxes, slashing benefits, and firing 500,000 workers will not exactly please the Left.
My French readers suggest Fillon would trounce Le Pen. Color me extremely skeptical of that death announcement.
On many issues, Le Pen is far to the left of Fillon. And what about the Right? Would they prefer Hamon or Le Pen should that be the match-up?
The radicalization of Hamon and Fillon helps le Pen. Her chances are far better than most think.