REFLECTIONS

Has France's Fifth Republic Run Its Course?

MIN READMay 5, 2017 | 22:50 GMT

French presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen (L) faces off against Emmanuel Macron. Voters go to the polls on Sunday to determine who will hold one of the most powerful democratically elected positions in the world.
French presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen (L) faces off against Emmanuel Macron. Voters go to the polls on Sunday to determine who will hold one of the most powerful democratically elected positions in the world.

(ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

French voters will head to the polls on Sunday to choose their next president from two highly unorthodox candidates. Neither the centrist Emmanuel Macron nor the far-right Marine Le Pen belong to the country's major parties, which failed to make it to the final run-off round. The unprecedented flop of France's traditional rulers is just the latest in a long list of signs that the political system established by Charles de Gaulle nearly 60 years ago may have run its course. Whoever wins Sunday's election will face the formidable challenge of trying to impose themselves on a system built around the traditional parties, of which neither front-runner is a member. The French presidency is one of the most powerful democratically elected positions in the world. The person to claim it will become the commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces and will select its prime minister (with the approval of the National...

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