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France named ‘country of the year’ by The Economist

France has been named “country of the year 2017” by British magazine The Economist, mainly thanks to the election of President Emmanuel Macron.

The political magazine - widely read in London and other urban centres in the UK and often described as centre-left in its political leanings - commended France for the voting in of Macron and his party La République en Marche.

It judged that the President - despite coming from a “party full of political novices” - had “crushed the old guard”, “swept aside the ancien régime” and “transformed the national political debate”, reports French news source France Info.

Every Christmas, The Economist picks a “country of the year”, and has several conditions attached to the win.

According to its own website: “Rogue nations are not eligible, no matter how much they frighten people. (Sorry, North Korea). Nor do we plump for the places that exert the most influence through sheer size or economic muscle - otherwise China and America would be hard to beat.

“Rather, we look for a country, of any size, that has changed notably for the better in the past 12 months, or made the world brighter.”

This year, France eventually won out over South Korea, the other shortlisted nation.

Macron was especially commended for having “passed a series of sensible reforms”, including on anti-corruption measures and “a loosening of France’s rigid labour laws”.

The party was also praised for having beaten “ultra-nationalist Marine Le Pen (who, had she won, would have wrecked the European Union)”, the magazine wrote.

For its part, South Korea was praised for dealing with the missile threats from its aggressive neighbour North Korea and heightened tensions between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, “with calm and grace”, and for “cleaning up its domestic politics despite living under constant threat of nuclear apocalypse”.

This would “be enough [to win] in most years,” The Economist explained, except this year, “France defied all expectations [and] for that, it is our country of the year".

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