Survey of International Economists Predicts a Le Pen Defeat in French Elections, Says Macron has Best Economic Plan

Looking forward, economists from leading institutions around the world think that Emmanuel Macron, leader of bipartisan movement On the Move! (En Marche!), has the best economic plan with 55% of survey respondents in agreement, followed by Republicans party (Les Républicains) candidate François Fillon with 40%. None of the economists believe that Le Pen has the best economic plan.

Economists’ views on the most important reform measures the country has to implement center around liberalization of the labor market, slashing public spending, cutting the size of the bloated public sector, reducing red tape and reforming the country’s pension system and tax regime. It remains unclear whether the new president will succeed in implementing his or her reform agenda.

Regarding whether France’s relationship with the EU will change following the elections, “The majority of analysts envisage a ‘business as usual’ approach with the single-currency bloc in the case of a non-Le Pen presidency,” says Jean-Philippe Pourcelot, France Economist at FocusEconomics.

“Under a Macron or Fillon presidency, France is set to retain its prominent role as a historical leader of EU integration and more political and economic integration is expected. Quick fiscal consolidation will not be a priority, but the new government is expected to respect the Stability and Growth Pact target of a budget deficit under 3.0% of GDP.”

Participants see the battle for president being waged chiefly between right-wing Marine Le Pen, centrist Emmanuel Macron and the rather more discredited center-right candidate François Fillon. However, a parliamentary majority will be difficult for the president-elect to obtain, clouding the outlook for policy making in France.

June’s legislative elections are equally important since they largely determine the amount of power and autonomy the president will hold during his tenure. 73% of the analysts surveyed expect there to be cohabitation given the unprecedented configuration of this year’s presidential election.

“In the unlikely case of a Le Pen presidency, panelists perceive her as being unable to fulfill all of her campaign promises as her party will fall short of winning a majority in the June elections, and they have downplayed the economic risks as a result,” says Pourcelot.

The FocusEconomics France Elections Survey, released Tuesday, was conducted 8 to 15 March among chief economists and senior economists from leading international and local economic institutions worldwide.

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