French Election: Macron defeats Le Pen, but Far Right Creeps Closer

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As the 2022 Presidential Election draws to a close, French and European citizens breathe a sigh of relief.

It has been one of the most unenthusiastic elections in France’s modern history. In 2017’s election, Emanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon injected some hope for a more progressive future. Once upon a time, there was an appetite amongst all generations to take part, vote and campaign. But sadly, all enthusiasm has been lost, with the current French election being spurred on by fear of a growing right-wing movement.

French Election

Le Pen from Financial Times

Emmanuel Macron won 58.55% of the vote, compared to Marine Le Pen’s 41.45% — a surprisingly close margin. It has been Le Pen’s eighth election loss, however, it worryingly secured France’s biggest share of right-wing votes yet.

Marine Le Pen is the leader of the National Rally party. She inherited the position from her highly controversial father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2011, after his xenophobic and homophobic statements made him unelectable. Since then, his daughter, Marine, decorated similar political and social views with shiny colours and savvy marketing, which has made some impressive headway. Although, one can argue that the Financial Crash, the Refugee Crisis and Brexit, amongst others, contributed to the National Rallies’ rise in the polls.

In Macron’s victory speech, he tackled the anxieties amongst voters. “An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right. It will be my responsibility and that of those around me.”

Worryingly, turnout was low — sitting at a miserable 72% — suggesting dissatisfaction with the candidates on offer. On the other hand, Le Pen and her team will be overjoyed with these numbers, as they remain potential swing voters in future elections.

Macron’s win symbolises a continuation of the status quo. Although Western leaders and businesses are pleased with the security that Marcon offers, French citizens are growing more and more restless. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a global pandemic, Europe has seen its fair share of unpredictable crises’ over the past couple of years. France’s political system is in a delicate state, it can’t afford much more uncertainty. Le Pen will be watching with eager eyes, whilst minority communities, with fear. Let’s hope Macron can steady the ship and steer France, and Europe, back to progressive politics.