Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

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Technocratic Populism à la Française? The Roots and Mechanisms of Emmanuel Macron’s Success

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Abstract:  This article focuses on the roots and mechanisms of Macron’s success, arguing that in 2017 two conditions were essential in Macron’s rise—the implosion of the established system of the French Fifth Republic in which the two main parties were alternating in power; and the rise of anti-establishment populist challengers on the right and on the left (cf. Stockemer, 2017; Zulianello, 2020). It was anti-establishment appeal that put Macron on the map, but the appeal to technocratic competence that won him the presidency. Technocratic populism transcends the left–right cleavage and, as a result, has a broader appeal than its left- and right-wing counterparts. Emmanuel Macron was an insider taking on the (crumbling) system and positioning himself as an outsider—refusing the traditional labels, including centrism, elite recruitment patterns, and mediated politics. Instead, Macron and La Republique en Marche attempted to create new forms of responsiveness by ‘giving voice to the people,’ while relying on technocratic competence as a legitimation mechanism. In power Emmanuel Macron attempts to balance responsiveness and responsibility (cf. Guasti & Buštíková, 2020).

Keywords:  France; Macron; populism; technocratic populism



© Michel Perottino, Petra Guasti. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.