Instability Casts a Shadow Over French Presidential Election

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France’s upcoming presidential election is perhaps the most important in the nearly 60-year history of the Fifth Republic. The election’s first round on Sunday comes at a time of an increasingly divided France, stemming from years of corrupt politicians, economic malaise, high unemployment, and terror. France has been in a state of emergency since January 2015, after the first of several Islamist terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people, and just this week, a policeman was killed and three others wounded in a shooting on the Champs-Élysées in central Paris. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The French election also coincides with an increasingly fractious European Union (EU) preparing for Britain’s withdrawal, and a new U.S. administration that seems to prefer working bilaterally, rather than multilaterally, and has consistently espoused a somewhat isolationist policy.

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