I’m so jealous that French people get to vote on Sundays! That alone is amazing, imagine holding elections on weekends. That being said, I’m not entirely sure about the whole “run-off election” thing. Weeks ago, President Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen got the most votes in the French general election. Sunday was the runoff election with only Le Pen and Macron on the ballot. People were worried! Le Pen has been a rabid right-wing figure in French and European politics for so many years. She has been one of those political figures trying to make nationalism, racism, bigotry and anti-immigration into more mainstream political beliefs and more palatable to a wider swath of French people. This weekend, she got her ass kicked.
French President Emmanuel Macron comfortably won reelection to a second term Sunday. The results brought relief to allies that the nuclear-armed power won’t abruptly shift course in the midst of the war in Ukraine from European Union and NATO efforts to punish and contain Russia’s military expansionism.
The second five-year term for the 44-year-old centrist spared France and Europe from the seismic upheaval of having firebrand populist Marine Le Pen at the helm, Macron’s presidential runoff challenger who quickly conceded defeat but was still on course for her best-ever electoral showing.
Acknowledging that “numerous” voters cast ballots for him simply to keep out the fiercely nationalist far-right Le Pen, Macron pledged to reunite the country that is “filled with so many doubts, so many divisions” and work to assuage the anger of French voters that fed Le Pen’s campaign.
“No one will be left by the side of the road,” Macron said in a victory speech against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower and a projection of the blue-white-and-red tricolor French flag. He was cheered by several hundred supporters who happily waved French and EU flags.
Macron is now the first man to win re-election and serve more than one term since Jacques Chirac and François Mitterrand. People keep talking about how French voters were mostly ambivalent about Macron in general, but they still came out to vote for him because no one wanted to see Le Pen empowered. This election was obviously incredibly important within the EU, especially given the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Macron’s role as one of Europe’s most important diplomats (he still keeps an open line of communication with Putin). While all of this is good news, does anyone think that Brigitte Macron looked a little bit stunned? I don’t think she was ready to serve a second term as France’s First Lady.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.