The current Emmanuel Macron battle for the Elysee Palace was clearly won more than expected in the first round. According to preliminary estimates, the French president received 28 percent of the vote on Sunday evening, while his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, received 23 percent. Far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon was ousted in third place, although he received more than 20 percent of the vote.
Elections for the right and left, established in France, which ruled the country for decades until 2017, turned out to be a historic catastrophe: the leading candidate of the Goliath-Conservative “Les Republicans” (LR), Valerie Begres, and the mayor of Paris, Ann Hidalgo, received less than five percent of the votes of the Socialists.
The French will make the final decision on April 24
The first round of the presidential election was only a preliminary decision on the fundamental direction of France. The race between Macron and Le Pen will decide the future course of the country on April 24. Macron should worry about the low turnout on Sunday: more than a quarter (26.5 percent) of all voters refused to vote.
In 2017, Macron clearly won the fight against Le Pen with a two-thirds majority. This time around, polls suggest that President Le Pen will be narrowly defeated.
It will now be important for the president to mobilize voters on the left and supporters of the more bourgeois Republicans. In the evening, Republican and Socialist Front candidates called on their supporters to vote for Macron. Green Yannick Jadot, who came in at just under five percent on Sunday, was asked to vote for the current post. Mலlenchon, on the other hand, called his “Indomitables” movement “not to give Madame Le Pen even a single vote.” At the same time, he left it clear whether his supporters should stay out of the run-off contest or vote for Macron.
Le Pen benefited from the fact that right-wing extremist propagandist Eric Jemmoor campaigned as a candidate, spreading the most radical dissertation and debating against refugees and Jews. The 53-year-old appeared to many to be “much more moderate” than he was in 2017. Eric Zemmor came in at seven percent on Sunday. He appealed to his supporters to vote for Le Pen in the second election. Candidates from small far-right split groups made similar statements.
That evening both candidates tried to get votes from other parties. Macron addressed supporters of the ousted candidates, including Zemour: “Everyone must rally behind him.” Le Pen called the casting vote a “basic election of community, even civilization.”
Macron had announced before the election that he would continue with his previous policy. During his first term, the 44-year-old social liberal repeatedly supported the depths of the EU and promoted the liberalization of the French economy. Despite the challenges to the right and the left, he kept to what he announced during the election campaign that the retirement age would be raised to 65.
Le Pen plans to end France’s military integration with NATO
Le Pen, on the other hand, is Euroseptic, but recently stopped his previous plan to expel him from the Monetary Union by referendum. He is campaigning hard against the immigrants and wants to limit the many social benefits to the French people.
Until the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine in February, Le Pen expressed clear sympathy for President Vladimir Putin of Moscow. He wants to control the general security policy in the EU and arms programs with Germany, and end France’s military integration with NATO. Observers in Brussels and Berlin fear that Le Pen’s election will “push Europe into a deeper crisis than Brexit.”
Le Pen focused his campaign on the loss of purchasing power of many low-income French people. In France, too, food and petrol prices have risen significantly since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Macron sees many of his comrades as students of the Persian elite. To strengthen purchasing power, Macron has promised a bonus of up to ,000 6,000 per employee if re-elected. The government previously controlled electricity and gas prices. Critics accuse current President Le Pen of underestimating the new challenge over a long period of time.
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