For many, the Age of Aquarius will see women achieve their true potential and the moment of truth is at hand for Europe’s female leaders.
It is dangerous to talk about the outcome of an election that is taking place as we write but we suspect Marine Le-Pen will make it through to the second round of French presidential elections on May 7 but opinion polls suggest she has no chance of becoming president. Nevertheless, the EU waters will still not be safe given the lead enjoyed by the Five-Star Movement in Italy.
More of a danger in France would come if Jean-Luc Mélenchon makes it to the second round and faces either Le-Pen or Fillon. His policy agenda can be compared to that of Francois Mitterrand and French equities lost more than half of their value during the first two years of his presidency (while World indices were flat).
However, we think Emmanuel Macron will become President, which should bring relief… until we start to ask questions about exactly what he intends to do and how he will operate with a parliament and a government that has little to do with his own party. But that is a minor-league problem.
German elections take place on September 24 and the outcome is far from clear. However, we believe that Angela Merkel will continue to lead a grand-coalition, after a difficult post-election stand-off with Martin Shulz.
As for Theresa May, our constituency-by-constituency analysis suggests she will win a famous victory, with the Tory majority rising from 10 to 110 based on what opinion polls are saying. That rises to 138 if we allow for an extreme “Brexit factor” outcome (70% of English constituencies voted to leave the EU). The chart below shows the details.
Such an outcome could make for a hard exit from the EU but we suspect such a commanding majority will enable the PM to ignore the extremists within her own party. So, the UK is definitely leaving the EU but the exit may be softer than we once feared.
Paul Jackson is managing director of research at Source ETF