Macron Still Has a Lot to Learn

The La Rotonde brasserie in Paris has a storied past as a haunt for the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso, and Trotsky. This spring it’s back in the news for a different kind of guest: Emmanuel Macron, who took his entourage to La Rotonde after winning the first round of the presidential election on April 23.

The celebration and triumphant victory speech that preceded it struck many as premature, given that the 39-year-old political neophyte must still face Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in a runoff on May 7. The press criticized Macron as tone-deaf, #larotonde became a Twitter meme, and Le Pen pounced on the event as proof that Macron was an “elite Parisian” out of touch with traditional values. “Macron could find nothing better to do than to celebrate?” asks Thomas Guénolé, a professor of politics at the Sciences Po institute in Paris. “He needed to show himself as a statesman, and instead he comes across as a child king.”

The misstep is highly unlikely to cost Macron the presidency, because polls show him beating Le Pen by at least 20 percentage points. The greater risk is that it will tarnish his image with a divided electorate and weaken his hand in parliamentary elections in June. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy was dogged by fallout from a 2007 election night dinner at a glitzy restaurant on the Champs-Élysées that helped earn him the nickname “President Bling-Bling.”

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.