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A Magic Wand for France?

With a broad mandate, sky-high approval ratings, and what will likely be a huge parliamentary majority, French President Emmanuel Macron has a golden opportunity to recast his country’s economic prospects. But the needed fiscal and structural reforms will require much more than electoral good fortune.

WASHINGTON, DC – Last month, Emmanuel Macron pulled the proverbial rabbit from the electoral hat. Against the odds, the independent centrist won the French presidency by a decisive margin, beating the far-right populist Marine Le Pen – and vanquishing the old guard of the French establishment along the way. Now, for his latest trick, Macron looks set to secure a huge majority in the French National Assembly.

But whether Macron, a political newcomer, is more than an electoral wizard will depend on the success, or failure, of the economic program that his government enacts.

Friends of France, and of a united Europe, were no doubt relieved by Macron’s victory. And in the early days of his presidency, the French public is behind him, too; recent polling puts his approval rating at 62%. Yet goodwill can dissipate quickly, which is why Macron must move to capitalize on his early mandate by implementing reforms of fiscal policy, taxation, the labor market, and education, to name but a few areas where change is long overdue.

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