Checks and Balance: French lessons

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A liberal and a nationalist are facing off for the presidency of France after a first round in which most voters opted for anti-establishment candidates. Both finalists have redrawn the country’s political map and the polls are tight. Emmanuel Macron’s struggles are a cautionary tale for political centrists everywhere. But could the foibles of the French system offer lessons for America’s partisan gridlock? 

Our Paris bureau chief Sophie Pedder lays out how the result will reshape the relationship with America’s oldest ally. We find out how France ditched its electoral college. And we talk to Gérard Araud, French ambassador to the United States from 2014-19, about which political system would win in a fight. 

John Prideaux hosts with Idrees Kahloon, our Washington DC bureau chief, and Charlotte Howard, New York bureau chief and US business editor.


To read, watch and listen to all our coverage of the French election go to and you can subscribe to The Economist at


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