Significant… Historically & Politically
Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron has managed to win a second term as French President, in spite of losing popularity. With this, he has created history, as it has happened in a rare first in the history of modern France. In the recent past, no French president managed to win a second term. On April 24 (2022), Macron defeated his nearest rival and Far-Right leader Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen, popularly known as Marine Le Pen. As expected, Le Pen failed to throw a strong challenge to Macron in terms of vote share in the second round of Presidential Poll. While the incumbent President received 58.2% of the votes, Le Pen managed to get 41.8%.
Macron was leading against Le Pen even before the second round of the Presidential Election, and most of the opinion polls gave such an indication in advance. Supporters of Madame Le Pen thought that it would be difficult for President Macron to win the election. However, it did not happen. It may be noted that President Macron had bagged 66.1% of the votes five years ago, while Le Pen received 33.9%; and this time, the Far-Right leader has managed to increase her vote share by nearly 8%.
One may consider the outcome of the recent French Presidential Election as a social resistance. Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) Party has made remarkable progress in recent times. The Far-Rights have also strengthened their position in neighbouring Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Germany and some other European countries. In a sense, the French Presidential Election of 2022 was an important one, compared to the electoral defeat of (former US President) Donald Trump in 2020, or the 2016 Brexit Referendum. The impact of Macron’s victory on Global Geopolitics shall be huge, as the issue of immigration has already endangered the social balance in France, as well as in Europe.
Much of the recent uprising of the Far-Rights in French National Politics has, of course, been attributed to their centuries-old colonial legacy in North-West Africa. Today, France is flooded with immigrants from the Dark Continent. As a result, the demography, religious character, racial character, food habits, language, culture, social environment, and economic situation of the Western European nation are gradually changing. That is why Le Pen has claimed that France is for the French people. The common people, too, have started believing so. Such an idea has shaken social stability, allowing Ultra-Nationalism to gain ground. Hence, Le Pen got 23.5% of votes from the countrymen of Rousseau and Voltaire in the first round of the Presidential Election. She not only waged a war against immigration, but also urged the concerned authorities to ban hijab and to leave the European Union (EU), like Britain. Le Pen further stressed on her friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the election campaign in order to influence the voters. Her campaign triggered panic among the Muslims and Jews of France.
On the other hand, Macron had created a new French fairy tale ahead of the first Presidential Election five years ago. Since becoming the youngest President of the Fifth French Republic on May 14, 2017, he has been influencing French society with his Centrist Political Ideology. Although President Macron has been able to prevent an inevitable breakdown of the society so far (due to a strong polarisation between Far-Right and Far-Left), he has failed miserably to stem the tide of Far-Right political extremism. Even the President has made some Rightist moves, such as enacting the Anti-Separatism Law. France experienced the Yellow Vest protests in 2018 after the Macron Government increased the diesel tax.
Macron has become a seasoned politician in recent times. However, he should be prepared to face tough challenges in the coming days. For him, the real challenge starts now, as he would have to heal the divisions in society. The 2022 Presidential Election can change the French society, as well as the politics and social context of Europe. It seems that the country of ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’ would not surrender to the Far-Right ideology in near future. Macron would also have to take an additional responsibility of leading the EU, especially after the departure of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. So, the 2022 Presidential Election was like a new French Revolution, in a sense.
It remains to be seen how long the French President could struggle with the Far-Rights, or whether his Centrist Politics would gradually become more and more Rightist.
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