The Strategist

Macron wins the first round of French presidential elections

04/24/2017 - 14:31

The first round of the French presidential elections unveiled two candidates, one of which is to lead the country in the next five years. The leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen (21.53% of the vote in the first round), and her rival Emmanuel Macron (23.75%), who heads a centrist movement En Marche!, launched their new campaign on the eve of the second round, to be held on May 7.

Emmanuel Macron is the youngest candidate, who hasn’t even reached his forties. He is a creature of outgoing President Hollande, stands for the strong ties of France with America the EU. Sometimes he would seem ridiculous in debates, but eventually won thanks to the entire French state machine that did everything to compromise Macron’s competitors during the campaign. Muslims of the country supported the candidate as well. According to various estimates, there are up to 6 million of them. And when Macron said that "the French culture no longer exists", and that it has been replaced with a new "culture of France", immigrants and their descendants liked it. 

In fact, the elections’ outcome was not a big surprise. It is obvious that different political forces of the country are ready to unite and play the already familiar game - "everything but Le Pen". 

A third of voters decided literally on the eve of the voting. Observers say that many came to the polling station in the spirit: "I do not know who I will vote for, but I know that I need to vote".

Another noteworthy fact: for the first time in the recent history of France, the voting results practically coincided with the results of public opinion polls. The main candidates received about the same percentage of votes and were ranked in the predicted order.

The vote’s preliminary results were barely known when the French and European media began to unanimously predict that Emmanuel Macron would win the second round of elections. They are saying he will gather 62 to 64 percent of the vote in the second round, noting that in this case the 39-year-old former banker, who by and large has no experience in the sphere of big politics, will become the youngest French leader after Napoleon. Macron has tangible support from the big capital associated with America yet does not have any representative in the French parliament. However, due to the assertiveness and sometimes harsh statements on the verge of foul against their political opponents, he managed to advance to the favorites of the presidential race.

The current situation after the first round resembles the events of 2002. Then, moderate conservative, the "Gaullist" Jacques Chirac, and Head of the "National Front" Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen’s father fought for the presidency in the second round. Chirac confidently won then, gaining almost 82%. According to analysts' forecasts and poll data from sociological opinion, the history will repeat itself, and Macron will win over Le Pen. Fillon and Hamon have already called on their followers to support the centrist, since the "National Front" is known for its violence. So far, Mélenchon 's position is not clear, but, being on the opposite flank of the political spectrum, he is also unlikely to support her. The vote on May 7th will show whether Macro will repeat the success of Chirac.