A tough second term awaits President Emmanuel Macron, who managed to outplay his far-right rival Marine Le Pen, who won 58.5% of the vote in the previous day’s elections in France and remained at 41.5 %. In his post-election speech, Macron stressed that his second term would not be a continuation of the first, and signaled that he intended to introduce a new method. On the one hand, the unstoppable rise of the extreme right, on the other, the indifference of voters at the polls and the fact that almost half of the votes cast against him do not mean “support” forces Macron to get rid of of its current approach and follow a different method.
The election results showed that France is more divided than ever. This division has a generational and social dimension beyond the urban-rural divide. The capital, Paris, the west and center of the country backed Macron, and the north and south backed Le Pen. While major urban centers, the middle and upper classes, and retirees backed Macron, votes from lower-income classes went to Le Pen. Macron should take a step into the new period by taking this image into account.
OPINIONS ARE STRONG
Surveys indicate that people’s priorities are health, purchasing power and security. Although Macron took action in these areas, he was unable to fully convince the public. The voting table shows that, despite the result, the opposition to Macron is serious. It seems inevitable that Emmanuel Macron will review his current approaches to mitigate this opposition.
‘ROUND THREE’ CRITICAL
Legislative elections from June 12 to 19, which will be of a “third round” nature, will be Macron’s first major test in the new legislature. Although the system in France gives broad powers to the president, his room for maneuver is reduced if he does not have a majority in parliament. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of both Le Pen and the radical left France Inflexible, has already begun to play this card. Macron will need as broad a central alliance as possible. Some polls taken after the announcement of the results showed that the number of those who wanted Macron to emerge victorious in these elections was not very high.
AUGMENTED RIGHT RADICAL SUPPORT
The most striking result of the elections was the vote of far-right Marine Le Pen. Le Pen’s 41.5% vote against President Emmanuel Macron is the highest the far right has ever achieved in France. In previous elections, the far right reaching the second round was considered disastrous. Yesterday’s results confirmed that the far right now has the potential to take power.
The far right’s first adventure in the second round dates back to the 2002 elections, when Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, faced Jacques Chirac. Chirac obtained 82.2% of the vote at that time, when the extreme right was considered “unacceptable”. It took until 2017 for the far right to reach the second round for the second time. Although she lost her mind in her first duel with Macron, Marine Le Pen increased her voting rate to 33.9%. Macron has pledged to fight the far right. The result of the day before shows that the fight was not very fruitful.
THE RECORD OF NOT GOING TO THE PEOPLE COULD BE BEAT
The tendency not to go to the polls in France also remains a serious problem. The rate of not going to the polls in yesterday’s elections was 28%. This rate is the second highest recorded after 31.1% in 1969. This means that 13.6 million of the 48.7 million French voters did not vote. To better understand the magnitude of the figure, remember that 13.3 million people voted for Marine Le Pen. We must not forget that the rate of those who go to the polls and vote blank or null is 8.6%. If we consider that 42% of voters aged 18 to 24, which is the driving force in most countries, do not go to the polls, we understand better why France should treat this question as a priority.