En Marche! are expected to triumph again in this week's parliamentary elections. Much of that success could be down to three men—and a programby Rachel Halliburton / June 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
From the moment that Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency, it was clear that the parliamentary elections on the 11th and 18th of this month would be critical. Despite his status-quo-smashing victory, Macron’s powers would be severely limited without a majority in the French National Assembly. Initially, even supporters feared that he would not be able to beat political odds twice in just over a month.
Yet polls this week indicate that his new party, La République en marche! (REM), could be on the cusp of winning by a landslide, introducing a major new political era for France. As outsiders analyse how Macron is managing so comprehensively to rewrite the political rulebook, it’s worth considering three names vital to his success: Liegey Muller Pons (LMP), or, as Le Monde recently dubbed them, “Three men and a software program.”
Guillaume Liegey, a 36-year-old Harvard graduate and ex-McKinsey consultant, is the ‘L’ of LMP, which models both local and national political campaigns along the lines of technology start-ups. From Berlin, where LMP is opening a new office, he declares, “Maybe I’m biased, but I think what Macron has done has never been done before… he has made politics exciting again because he has shown how somebody who has not been a longterm political insider can build a powerful movement.”
LMP became involved in 2016, when Macron approached them to talk about their data-driven canvassing techniques. The discussion around big data in politics these days often heralds wary discussions of firms such as Cambridge Analytica. Yet the founders of LMP, like Macron, were admirers of Obama, who in both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns famously tapped into advanced data analytics for progressive political purposes.
Liegey himself volunteered for Obama in 2008, and it was on the campaign trail that he met MIT economics graduate Vincent Pons and fellow McKinseyite and Harvard graduate Arthur Muller. All three were galvanised by the way the vast technological and scientific infrastructure of Obama’s campaign had been deployed to reinvent the seemingly old-fashioned technique of going from door to door to talk directly to voters. In 2012, back in their own country, the three men used their experience to devise an algorithm that helped Francois Hollande to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy.
Just five years…