Monday, February 6

Emmanuel Macron 2, article by Joan Tapia

Macronwith 58.5% of votes against 41.5% of Marine LePen, has had a wide victory. A difference of 17 points is relevant and more so when the polls after the first round 15 days ago gave him a Pyrrhic victory of 51% to 49%. In addition, then 54% voted for populist parties, from the right or left, for which they were the enemy to defeat.

Transforming the very opposed 54% of the first round into a 58.5% in favor has merit. Much of it is due to the increase in abstention and in the white votes of the extreme left. But many French people, left and right, who did not vote for Macron in the first round due to disagreement with his policies, have now backed him toto prevent the passage to Le Pen. And Macron has worked on that vote, emphasizing that France is one of the engines of Europe and inflecting some of his proposals, such as retirement at 65 (the French retire at 62). Flexibility – not irresponsibility – is a political quality that he has now had.

It is true that five years ago he beat Le Pen by 66% against 34%, twice the difference than now, but then Macron was a promise without any wear and tear (he resigned as Hollande’s economy minister at the right time) and instead now he accumulated usury of power. Because of its technocratic style and because its timid ecological reforms ran into a brutal protest by the ‘yellow vests’ over the increase in fuel prices. Furthermore, the pandemic is not a pleasant crisis to manage.

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And despite this, Macron has been the first re-elected president in 20 years. They only made it before De Gaulle, Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac in other circumstances.

But Macron’s presidential victory, which is that of the France that bets on Europe and he mistrusts nationalism or socialism as exclusive sentiments or dogmas, he also has his cross. Apart from the 54% anti-system of the first round, the 41.5% to Le Pen on Sunday indicates discomfort and social division that push to vote for parties that preach simple (or simplistic) solutions to a complicated and changing reality. And this despite the fact that the economic balance (and employment) of the legislature has been positive.

Now Macron must win the June legislative to have a parliamentary majority. It is possible that he will succeed if he is correct in the name of the new prime minister and, above all, in the composition of a plural government that conveys more sensitivity towards public security (the right wing accuses him of laxity) and more social balance (complaint of many voters of Mélenchon). A bobbin lace. But the electoral system favors him. Pacts in the constituencies for the second round between the extreme right and Mélenchon seem impossible.

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True, there is a lot of old-fashioned right. And left out of phase. It was seen with the failures of the presidencies of Sarkozy and Hollande, but avoiding ideological references (except Europe) and trusting everything to efficiency has not increased social consensus. Illiberal populism is stronger today than it was in 2017.

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