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Winners and Losers - Europe Elections and Rejections

Ian Bremmer

Originally published by Ian Bremmer on LinkedIn: Winners and Losers - Europe Elections and Rejections

French Presidential Apocalypse Approaches

Winner: President Francois Hollande—not running for reelection because he’s historically unpopular (his approval rating hit 4% in recent months), but if there has ever been a year for an establishment incumbent to sit one out, this is it. #PetitesVictoires

Loser: Francois Fillon—despite a string of scandals, the center-right Fillon has hung on long enough to join the 4-person scrum that will produce the two run-off candidates this weekend. But the odds are still against him, and if he goes down, his will be the face attached to the end of the French political establishment. #BonneChanceWithThatOne

London Calling… for Snap Elections

Winner: EU Negotiators—an empowered Theresa May can offer concessions rather than take a “hard-Brexit” line to appease her domestic critics. If she wins, of course. #MindThatLastGap

Loser: Scotland—First Scottish Minister Nicola Sturgeon was recently denied a Scottish referendum vote because the UK government needed to put “all its energies” into negotiating Brexit. A month later, May calls for general elections. #BlueFacePlant

Turkey’s Referendum: By a Hair

Winner: Recep Tayyip Erdogan—by default. But the vote giving Erdogan sweeping new powers was a lot closer (51-49) than he wanted. And now he needs to win the next election for the constitutional amendments to take hold. #WeveOnlyJustBegun

Loser: Europe—Europe’s been occupied with Dutch, French, German (and now UK) elections, but the referendum outcome will force EU leaders to choose between silence on Erdogan’s power grab and his threats to unleash another wave of Syrian refugees. #DamnedEitherWay

The Week in Long-Shot Candidates

Winner: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—The still-popular former Iranian president filed his paperwork to run again, but is barred from running by the country’s supreme leader. But it’s for the best; imagine the expectations that come with being Iran’s “hardline” candidate in the age of Trump. #StillWantMoreArmisen

Loser: Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama—As a Chinese Christian politician in the world’s most populous Muslim country, the odds were always against “Ahok” winning the election for Jakarta’s governorship (he inherited the post when Joko Widodo became Indonesia’s president). But Ahok was a competent reformer in a country that badly needs competent reform, and his defeat was a loss for meritocracy in Indonesia. #WhyIndonesiaCantHaveNiceThings

Mr. Belichik Goes to Washington

Winner: The New England Patriots—the champs visited the White House this week to celebrate their most recent Super Bowl victory. The NY Times then trolled Trump by comparing photos of this visit with the (seemingly better-attended) trip to meet Barack Obama in 2015. This ignited a controversy that allowed the team to then show off comparable photos of its championship visits to the George W. Bush White House, reminding us all that they win a lot. #BeatingTheFalconsIsNeverEnough 

Loser: Photo journalism—it used to be that a photo was worth a thousand words; now photos need follow-up articles, fact-checking, and thousands of snarky tweets. #SeeingIsNotBelieving

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, foreign affairs columnist at TIME and Global Research Professor at New York University. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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