Frexit Betting Reflects Macron Warning Over Brexit Learnings
France president Emmanuel Macron has been warned to learn the lessons of Brexit before it is “too late” amid growing French antipathy towards the EU.
Macron has already once fought off the rise of far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen in the 2017 French election but is currently trailing to the National Rally leader in political polls.
The next French election is scheduled for the spring of 2022 and comes as voters question the country’s president over a number of core issues.
Top of the list is the coronavirus pandemic and how France has reacted to various spikes of the virus, as well as its largely criticised vaccine roll-out. Many nationalists have cited the UK’s success in their vaccination programme as evidence of Brexit’s merits.
There is a growing swell of support behind Le Pen – and while this has not yet resulted in any pro-leave polls in France, the EU’s former chief negotiator Michel Barnier has delivered a strong warning to Macron to tackle ‘Frexit’ head on.
“We could draw some lessons from Brexit for ourselves. It’s now too late for the UK but not for us,” Barnier said recently, before adding: “it’s important for us to listen to the anger that was expressed in the UK, and to implement the kind of changes that are necessary to better understand and reassure the European citizens that remain.”
Addressing the concerns of Brexiteers, as Barnier puts it, was exactly what former UK Prime Minister David Cameron did not do when he championed the cause for remaining in the trading bloc.
The Leave vote won by 52-48 in 2016 yet it still took four-and-a-half years for the UK to fully detach itself from the EU. Bookmakers Paddy Power currently price France at 8/1 to be the next country to leave the EU.
That’s still behind Italy (3/1) and Greece (6/1). Around eight per cent of all bets on that market have backed France, and there are signs the odds could reduce further unless Macron cuts into Le Pen’s polling lead.
Issues For Macron
The big problem for Macron heading into this election is the youth vote. A recent Ipsos poll saw 30 per cent of voters aged between 25 and 34 favour Le Pen.
Meanwhile, only 20 per cent of the French electorate have so far said they would vote for Macron.
France’s presidential election system certainly works in Macron’s favour. The two-vote system means that Macron and Le Pen were the only two candidates left standing from 11 original presidential hopefuls in 2017. Once it went to a head-to-head, Macron won with 66 per cent of the vote.
But 2022 could be different. Le Pen is one point ahead of Macron in the polls and may pick up secondary votes from voters unhappy with the current social and economic situation in France.
En Marche! remains the most likely party to win the 2022 French election in the betting odds at 8/11, but National Rally at 19/10 is not far behind.
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