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Sixty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, France is poised to hold an election that could make or break the European Union.Like her father, Marine Le Pen is likely to make it to the second round in May; indeed, polls have her winning the most votes in the first round. Many remain confident that she will be defeated in the runoff: Macron is projected to win 63 percent of the vote in a head-to-head contest against Le Pen. But populist victories in 2016 – particularly the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president – have shown that the unthinkable can happen.Just as U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt emerged as a ray of hope during the worst economic crisis in America's history, Macron is spreading optimism among a French public disillusioned by a combination of violence, mediocrity, corruption scandals, and ideological confusion.No independent has ever won the French presidency, but, again, this is no ordinary election.Of course, France is not America; it is, for one thing, less strategically important to the world. But France is strategically vital to the EU.
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