Paris After the success of liberal head of state Emmanuel Macron and right-wing Marine Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election, France is facing a historic decision. Both entered the run-off on April 24 in a struggle for the highest office in the state. According to the preliminary final result released on Monday, Macron received 27.84% of the vote in the first round and unexpectedly clearly outperformed his stronger opponent, who received 23.15% of the vote. The other ten candidates were disqualified.
The run-off between Macron and Le Pen is a repeat of their duel from 2017. At that time, the young political star clearly lost to the right. “What is at stake on April 24 is not the choice of circumstances, but the choice of society, the choice of civilization,” Le Pen said Sunday night. There were two opposing visions of the future.
Macron, who wanted to put an end to the right, admitted: “When the far right in all its forms has great support in the country, you cannot say that things are going well.” He continued, “Let’s make no mistake, nothing has been decided.”
On the evening of Election Day, pollsters predicted a fairly close result for this second round. The famous Ipsos-Sopra Steria Institute saw Macron winning with 54 percent of the vote. However, at the Ifop-Fiducial Institute, Macron was expected to lead with 51 percent of the vote, with very little. Time and time again, the candidate who finished second in the first round wins the run-off.
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So Macron described the next two weeks as crucial. On Monday he went straight to northeastern France, where he was overtaken not only by Le Pen, but also in some places by the country’s third-placed leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. It is clear that the president, who was barely visible during the election campaign, is trying to be close to the people, and he promised: “I am ready to do anything to convince me.” On the other hand, Le Pen was still cautious the day after the election. On Tuesday she wanted to make it clear how she intends to govern.
A victory for the 53-year-old right would badly hurt Germany and Europe. Instead of Berlin, Euroskeptics look to allies in Budapest or Warsaw. She doesn’t think much about the European Union, and instead wants more independence for France. Under her leadership in Brussels, Paris threatens to switch from driver to brake operator. In the current crisis between the West and Russia, Europe and the United States, along with Le Pen, fear the collapse of the powerful pro-Ukrainian front. However, since the right will not be able to obtain a majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections, there is at least no reason to fear that they will rule too tightly.
In France, too, there are fears that Le Pen will move to the great Elysee Palace. Calls to support Macron began soon after the first predictions. The Greens, Socialists and Republicans spoke in favor of the Liberals in the fight against Le Pen, while the leftist Mélenchon spoke clearly for more than five years against the right. It appears that the formation of a new “wall” against Le Pen has already begun.
On the other hand, the right-wing politician will have to rally massively against Macron in order to win. She can count on the supporters of Eric Zemmour and the votes of some conservatives from the right, but hardly from the center-left camp, which she tried to approach after the election with a demand for social justice. It would probably help here in the first place if leftists, frustrated with Macron, walked away from the elections and thus raised their percentages.
In their search for supporters outside their camp, both Macron and Le Pen emphasized their desire to form alliances. But the elections once again show the division of France, now formed into three blocs. While Macron occupies large parts of the center, there is a growing rush to the ends of the political spectrum from the left and the right.
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