The first round of the 2017 French presidential election – the most unpredictable in decades — will take place on April 23. The unpopular incumbent, Francois Hollande, did not seek a second term, leaving five candidates chasing a place in the second-round runoff on May 7. With Hollande’s would-be Socialist successor Benoît Hamon on the margins, and main opposition Republican nominee Francois Fillon dogged by scandal, the race is wide open for the young maverick Emmanuel Macron – and for the National Front’s Marine Le Pen. Will France follow recent British and American election results down a populist, anti-immigrant path? This talk, to be held 48 hours after the first round returns, explores the issues and the stakes facing French voters in April, May and June, when parliamentary elections will decide who governs France for the next five years and whether the Fifth Republic is strong enough to withstand the combined challenges of populism and weakened parties.
BIO: Vincent Michelot, Ph.D.
Dr. Vincent Michelot is Professor of American Politics and emeritus Director of Sciences Po Lyon in France. This spring he is teaching comparative politics as visiting professor at the University of Virginia. He also serves on the board of Fulbright France and is vice-president of the research council of Institut des Amériques. Michelot is a frequent commentator on both French and American politics and has written widely about US elections, presidential power and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently at work on an essay on political parties in France and the United States provisionally entitled Weak Parties, Weak Democracies. A graduate of Ecole Normale Supérieure de Saint-Cloud, he holds a Ph.D. from Université de Provence and an Habilitation à diriger des recherches from Sciences Po Paris.