Rising populism is ‘real issue’ in Europe, warns strategist – ‘Slow moving TRAIN WRECK'

A top strategist has warned rising populism is becoming a “real issue” in Europe and could lead to “economic damage”. Salman Ahmed claimed political forces are shaping “very rapidly” and could reassert themselves in a “powerful way”. Referring to the economic impact of the upcoming EU elections, the chief investment strategist at Lombard Odier Investment Managers told CNBC: “The real issue of this rising populism and this shaping of political forces we are seeing, which are happening very, very rapidly, will really come to the fore in the next recession. Because then you see some of these forces really reasserting themselves in a very powerful way as we move towards populist policies.

“I think it’s a slow moving train wreck, but I have no doubt in my mind that this is a train wreck.

“If God doesn’t come back in the eurozone in a big way and in equality you mentioned, in France for example this nervousness about so much funding going to the church.

“I think these are signs that political forces will start to influence economic policy in a big way.

“If economic damage happens, that will happen very, very quickly.”

With just a month to go before the EU elections in May, Marine Le Pen's party the National Rally has overtaken Emmanuel Macron’s centrist movement, according to an Opinionway survey published by Les Echos.

The results show the far-right party led by Jordan Bardella would have 24 percent of the votes, rising by 1 percent in one month.

This exceeds the majority, led by former minister Nathalie Loiseau, who lost two points in one month to 21 percent.

Mr Bardella has led a campaign to fight against the EU, which he has described as a “zombie, a life-impeder”.

He told politics news site, Politico.co.uk: "I joined the National Front for Marine Le Pen — more for her than the party.”

Meanwhile, the conservative Les Républicians party is expected to garner some 14 percent of the French vote, while the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party is expected to take 9 per cent.

The news will reinforce EU fears eurosceptic parties are to make strong gains in the May vote, and comes as a shock survey found 70 percent of French people have a very bad opinion of Mr Macron - a big drop in his popularity after two years as president.

In June 2017, Mr Macron ranked at 55 percent of positive opinions and 45 percent of negative opinions.

But now two years later, the president has 30 percent positive opinions and 70 percent negative opinions, according to a survey by Opinionway.

The loss of 25 percent in positive opinions, places Mr Macron in a bad position among French presidents.

The vote, which takes place in each EU nation between May 23-26 and in France on May 26, is shaping up to be a bitter contest between populist, far-right parties against the EU and Europhile, liberal groups fighting to save the crumbling Brussels bloc and deepen integration.

The study was conducted with a sample of 1,965 people registered on the electoral rolls, representative of the French population aged 18 and over.

The sample was interviewed by a self-administered online questionnaire using Computer Assisted Web Interviews (CAWI). The interviews were conducted from April 17 to 18 and April 22 and 23, 2019.

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