Populism in France’s Presidential Election

RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson recently authored an article for Providence titled, “Populism in France’s Presidential Election” in which he argues:

For those who believe that a rules-based Western liberal order—with limited government, civil liberties, and a basic form of collective security among democracies—is crucial for world peace, France’s populism reminds us of the threats to democracy and Western solidarity.

In the first round results of the presidential election in France, in which “the Far Right and Far Left populist candidates came in a close second and third,” it is significant that these populist movements together received more votes than current French President Emmanuel Macron. Patterson goes on to note:

France is not the only country to see this populist trend in recent years, and it stems not from a neo-nativism, but, most of the time, from deep concerns that democracy itself is not performing well. This is true of Europe’s populist right-of-center parties, who have won elections in a few small countries such as Austria (population 7 million) and Hungary (population 10 million).

The verdict is still out on whether these “these anti-systemic forms of representative populism” will gain a greater foothold in Western democracies and what the implications may be for rule of law and the preservation of fundamental rights, including religious freedom.

Read the full article: Populism in France’s Presidential Election.