French Presidential Elections Symposium
The Department of Government ran a very successful symposium on the French presidential elections in UCC on 30 March. The event was organised by Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan and she was one of the four speakers on the night.
The opening presentation was delivered by Dr Rainbow Murray from Queen Mary University in London and she discussed the role of the primaries in the 2017 election. She argued that the primaries had not proved successful. The current leading candidate, Emmanuel Macron, would not have won a primary and he benefitted from staying out. The second speaker was Professor Robert Elgie from Dublin City University and he located the eleven presidential candidates on the left-right spectrum. He stressed that there may be a few twists to come in the campaign, noting that the centre has a long and inglorious history in the fifth Republic and that Francois Fillon cannot be discounted. UCC’s Professor Patrick O’Donovan described the election as a potentially momentous one. He focussed on the economy and made the point that France has remained more egalitarian than many other countries, such as the US. The final presentation was by Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan who claimed that France is at a crossroads in terms of its place and role in the European Union. She analysed the manifestos of each candidate to see what they had to say about the EU. Based on this analysis, she was able to state that five candidates favoured a Frexit. In likening Emmanuel Macron to Barack Obama, Emmanuelle spoke about ‘who would come next’ if Macron won the 2017 election but was unable to deliver on his promises. Following the presentations, Dr Aodh Quinlivan chaired a lively questions and answers session. One issue which was keenly debated was whether Emmanuel Macron is anti-establishment or is part of the establishment! The speakers also linked the presidential campaign with the legislative elections which should prove very interesting and pivotal. The symposium drew a large crowd to the O’Rahilly Building and the hashtag #FrenchPres17 trended on the night.
You can access a recording of the event here: