On Sunday, France held the first round of the presidential election cum referendum on EU membership. Emmanuel Macron won the largest share of the votes with 24% of the vote, followed close behind by Marine Le Pen with 21.3%. Thus, these two candidates will now compete for the French presidency in a runoff vote on May 7.
During his first interview after the election, Macron said,
“The French people have decided to put me at the top in the first round of the vote,” “I’m aware of the honor and the responsibility that rests on my shoulders.”
In contrast, Marine Le Pen said that the outcome of the election was “an act of French pride” and called on French citizens to support her in order to defeat Islamist terrorism.
On Monday, Ms. Le Pen quickly renewed her attacks on Mr. Macron calling him “weakling” for his anti-terrorism policies.
The defeated candidates also gave their opinions about the outcome of the election and called on French citizens to support Emmanuel Macron against the xenophobic Marine Le Pen in the runoff vote on May 7.
The socialist Benoît Hamon, with 6% of the votes, was the first to concede and called on his supporters to vote against Marine Le Pen.
Fillon conceded with a 40-minute speech:
“The obstacles in my path were too many and too cruel,” he said. “I accept responsibility for this loss,” added Fillon, asking his constituents to remain united and determined going forward into the French parliamentary elections. The defeated leader said he had ”no choice but to vote against the extreme right.” “I will vote in favor of Emmanuel Macron,” he concluded.
Jean-Luc Melenchon refused to say who he would back, criticizing both candidates for having “no stance on the environment or the future of civilization, and who both challenge the welfare and social model of the country.” He also said that the 500,000 members of his organization, La France Insoumise, will hold a vote to decide whether to support Macron, cast a blank vote, or abstain in the runoff vote in May.
The current President, François Hollande called on French citizens to reject far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and back Macron in the runoff on May 7.
For the first time in six decades, neither of France’s main left-wing or right-wing parties had a candidate remaining in the run-off election.
The outcome of the first round of the French election portrays a terrifying scenario. French citizens will now have to choose between Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who represents the establishment, and Marine Le Pen, a xenophobe who wants to destroy the EU and expel millions of legal resident immigrants in the name of fighting terrorism.
Macron’s victory would probably lead to the French working class losing purchasing power, which, in the short-term, will weaken the French economy. On the other hand, Le Pen’s victory would be catastrophic. She wants to hold a referendum on EU membership, and expel millions of immigrants who sustain the French economy.
According to recent polls, Emmanuel Macron will win the second round with 59% of the vote. However, experts have suggested that there is a factor which could give Le Pen the presidency: so-called Islamist terrorism.They think that a major terrorist attack in the next week in France would send a shock wave through French society, giving Le Pen a real chance of becoming president.
Paradoxically, Marine Le Pen wants to eradicate terrorism and Islamist terrorists want to assassinate her. However, they need each other to survive for the following reasons:
1- Marine Le Pen needs a terrorist attack to have any hope of victory.
2- Islamist terrorists need Le Pen to cause chaos in Europe if they want to spread their ideas and attract new militants.
While French citizens await the outcome of the runoff vote on May 7, the establishment is endorsing Emmanuel Macron in order to instate a new financial dictatorship in France if he becomes president. Marine Le Pen, meanwhile, has renounced her membership in the National Front (her political party) while being endorsed by Trump and U.S. alt-right organizations.
It is clear, then, that Neither Le Pen nor Macron will transform French society into a fairer one. Thus, the only thing that French citizens can do is organize and prepare themselves for a long battle against the unfair measures implemented by their next president.