The French political system has been described as a gerontocracy, in other words a society ruled by old men. This description could equally apply to authoritarian governments around the world. The ‘old boy network’ helps to maintain the status quo, where privilege and wealth are tickets to political power.
Emmanuel Macron is a 39 year old, former Socialist,running for President in France. His style is similar to Obama’s. En Marche! has the marketing appeal of ‘Yes we can’ with the additional excitement of an exclamation mark. Not only that, but En Marche! is the name of his focus group/party/think tank – delete as appropriate. His researchers widely canvassed the electorate to ask what works? and what doesn’t work? With that in mind, the party’s policies have been crafted for mass appeal.
He projects an image of anti-establishment, a man of the people and is tetchy when quizzed about his privileged private education and investment banker past. His campaign seeks to have broad appeal to disgruntled Socialists and those on the right. Globalisation and free trade the keys to unlocking the potential of France’s economy with a relaxation of employment laws dangled in front of employers to extend the 35 hour week.
Hollande is encouraging voters to steer clear of Le Pen, and Macron could benefit from that advice.