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Could France Elect A Margaret Thatcher?

The French presidential election has been thrown into turmoil by the victory of Valerie Pecresse, a former budget minister, who won this weekend’s primary for The Republicans, the Conservative party founded by Charles de Gaulle. Her policies — tough on law and order and strong on fiscal discipline. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, president since 2017 has been a weakling as the French economy has sputtered.

Pecresse has compared herself to Margaret Thatcher and calls herself “La Dave de faire,” a play on the words “Iron Lady” and the phrase “Lady who gets things done.”

Her proposals include cracking down on crime and illegal immigration. On economics, she has promised to end the 35-hour working week, raise the retirement age to 65, cut 200,000 public sector jobs and build more nuclear reactors. All good ideas.

The first round of France’s presidential election is next April. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote in the first round, a runoff between the top two candidates is then held. If her support holds, Pecresse would have a chance to push either Macron on populist leader Marine LePen into third place and have a strong chance of becoming France’s first female president.

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