French Election (is finally over): How Macron Beat Le Pen

after weeks of speculation opinion polls and discussion it finally happened the French presidential election came to a close and while the result isn't exactly a surprise there's more to the election that might meet the eye having won 58 of the vote macron will be staying in power for the next five years but it might not be as plain sailing as you first thought nor might it be five more years of the same old macron so, in this blog, we'll take a deeper look at France's post-election and what macron's win actually means for France and for Europe first things first though let's get the actual results out of the way according to early estimates available at the time of writing Emmanuel macron managed to surpass most polling predictions garnering some 58 percent of the vote with the far-right marine le pen attracting just 42 percent so macron managed to get an easy win job done right well no not exactly the first thing to say here is the sheer scale of macron's achievement can't be understated macron joins just three other presidents to be re-elected while in office Charles de Gaulle Francois Mitterrand and jack Shirak and even then macron's re-election is the first-time a president has been re-elected while holding a majority in the French parliament i.e., as the BBC put it, Emanuel macron is the first president in modern times who after running every aspect of foreign and domestic policy for a full term has once again won the trust of the people and won their trust in spite of being bitterly controversial on the foreign policy side though it goes without saying that Europe has breathed a sigh of relief macron has consistently been one of if not the most Europhile of all of the candidates running for presidency while lepens sought to among other things cut French contributions to the EU budget renegotiate French membership of the Schengen area and re-establish the primacy of French law over EU law across the EU then macron has been seen as somewhat of a leading light for more Europe and for further faster integration between member states having the pen in the driving seat then would have sent a shiver down the EU spine for the main reason that Europe remains based on a Franco-German axis what France and Germany say and do together becomes more or less gospel for the European union these two countries are ultimately the two largest economies their founding members and they've played an undeniably large part in the history of European integration a le pen victory would have almost immediately thrown France back into political gridlock with the French president and prime minister drawn from separate political parties known as cohabitation anyway, in his victory speech macron acknowledged that much of the support he got in the second round wasn't as much a vote for him as a vote against le pen and the far-right something that a number of commentators picked up on casqued an expert in populism highlighted on Twitter that probably the most important aspect of the campaign and missed in many accounts is that in 2017 macron won with a positive message inspiring many French and even more Europeans this wasn't the case in 2022 though it was, even more, an anti-le pen vote which won the election for him you know usually in an election you got one camp rejoicing another camp saying well, it's too bad we have I said this time mostly the largest camp was relieved just because a lot of people voted macron despite what they really liked but just they had no choice but to stop marine le pen that's how they felt um so it was basically a large part of French people saying well we don't want my pen more than we want even the macro that's really what was yesterday which was which is why Emmanuel Macron did not you know sound like an um a crazy victory it's it's something more like yes, I understand uh I have now to uh I have your Monday but I now have to widen my politics which is the message you get yesterday so any conception of macronism or some kind of Jupiter Ian legacy is again in Muda's words pretty much dead in 2017 macron did manage to successfully smash the traditional French political scene he created his own movement and while many hoped this movement would pick up steam and cement itself as a new party of French liberal democracy in reality that's just not the case the traditional left and right have both been destroyed by macron le pen and others and macron has instead focused on developing a center, a platform that could be home to supporters from both the left and the right of French politics with opposition parties subsequently forced out to the extremes something unequivocally visible in the first round of voting that's because in the first round of voting Valerie pecress and Anne hidalgo candidates for the traditional center-left and right parties got in the region of seven percent of votes combined and in contrast almost 60 percent of voters chose a radical candidate either from the far left or far right in that first round regardless of macron's successes then after a constitutional reform in 2008 France brought in term limits meaning that no president may serve for more than two consecutive terms barring macron from even running third time which poses the question who could replace him as we already said the traditional parties on the left and right seem to be in terminal decline and it's unlikely but not impossible that le pen could hold on until then while le pen did manage to increase her vote share in the second round when compared to 2017 it appears that once again she was hurt by her performance in the one-on-one debate something that will play into the hands of opponents within her own party who argue that she's holding back the cause regardless le pen has vowed to fight on saying in a defiant speech that I will continue to fight for France and the French people I fear that the next five years will not break with the contempt and brutal policies of the last five years and Emmanuel macron will do nothing to repair the divisions in our country in any case, it was never going to be this election that defined the next five years of France because while a le pen victory could never be ruled out it was consistently predicted that Macron would win re-election the question simply being by what margin what will actually define France going forward are the results of the parliamentary elections set to be held in June currently, macron's party holds a plurality of seats in the national assembly 267 out of 577 having been boosted by a honeymoon effect in 2017 so together with allied parties' macron has governed with an outright parliamentary majority yet whether that majority and whether the honeymoon effect can work a second time round is in serious doubt so the next move really for macro is to try to show that is not as divisive a figure as it's been during the last five years so yeah, macro has a core group of supporters that's not negligible something like 30 of the electorate really supports macro but the program is is an incredibly divisive figure and we saw it during the yellow vest movement a few years ago or during the pandemic a lot of people really dislike him very much so the question is how will he try to bring together some some of the electorate possibly by trying to appeal to what they're left with more environmental friendly policies so that's one of the key thing is done in between the first and second round is to say okay on on the environment I've heard I've heard you and I'm going to try to move forward on the other hand macro does not want to let the far-right get some of the center-right uh voters so macron will not want to go too much away from the center right either so what you're going to try to do for the parliamentary election is what you did for the second round which is putting together a block of center-left and center right it's it's much more difficult in a parliamentary election where it's not you know one man one candidate but it is many hundreds um constituencies and therefore the weight of one personality is not as strong so if macron's party don't win in parliament once again it's hard to predict how he'll continue to rule without such a clear majority.