BENOIT TESSIER / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
French President Emmanuel Macron, who did not campaign before the first round of voting, campaigned on Monday morning following the release of Sunday’s results, with his rival Marine Le Pen leading by just five percentage points with 27.6% of the vote. Rather than gamble on what many say is Le Pen’s extremist vision, Macron has two weeks to persuade the French to give him another term.
Macron’s first stop is the northern city of Denine, which has the distinction of being France’s poorest municipality. Television footage showed the president wearing a T-shirt and talking to people in a former coal mine in France.
“Don’t forget about us inside and outside France,” one begged Macron. Denine received 41% of the vote in the first round to Le Pen, while Macron received 17% of the vote.
Five years ago Macron and Le Pen faced each other, and Macron won him 66% of the vote. But a lot has changed since 2017.
While it is still predicted that Macron will win in the second round, the difference is very small, and this time there is a real chance for Marine Le Pen, analysts say. There are many reasons for this. One is that French voters in general have moved to the right.
Le Pen has expanded his support base, and more and more voters are choosing the peak. The main left and right have all disappeared. The parties of Charles DeGaulle and Francois Mitterrand did not reach 5% this time.
In the first round last weekend, more than 50% of the vote went to the extremists. Some analysts now say there are three voting blocks: centrist, far left and far right. Others claim that the right-left divide has disappeared, and that a new paradigm has been set, globalist vs sovereignty.
On a personal level, Le Pen softened his image, poisoned his party, and appeared in the mainstream. Another right-wing candidate, Eric Gemmore, was embroiled in economic problems with bread and butter, such as Le Pen’s purchasing power, as he was provoking anti-immigrant sentiment. It paid off, said David, a 26-year-old supporter, who did not want to give his last name.
Emmanuel Dunant / AFP via Getty Images
“He is campaigning on the ground, going to markets, meeting people all over France,” he said. “That’s why she got more votes in the first round. And in two weeks she will win.”
Macron is not as politically bizarre as he was five years ago now. Au contraire, there is deep dissatisfaction with him in many places across the country. The leftists who voted for him feel betrayed, and he is generally regarded as an arrogant and elite with pro-rich policies. Someone other than Macron has become magical to some.
Le Pen can expect the far-right candidate Zemmour to pick up voters; He finished fourth in the race with 7% of the vote. Meanwhile, Macron does not have a deep well of voters.
Extreme left-wing firefighter Jean-Luc M மெlenchon, who came in third behind Le Pen, told his supporters that “not a single vote can go to Madame Le Pen.” Yet he did not support Macron. Both Macron and Le Pen are now vying for his electorate.
It is not far off to imagine that Mலlenchon’s voters will support Le Pen. The French far-left and far-right have identical socio-economic bases – support for the working class and hatred of the globalized capitalist system that the elites and corporations claim to benefit from.
Opinion Pryce Dendourier told France 2 News that the war between Macron and Le Pen was really about a war of two different visions in France.
“We have a France of good performers, they believe they have a higher salary, and they vote overwhelmingly for Macron,” he said. “And other France low wages, worries about its future. And they can not vote for Le Pen.”
Martin Quenz, deputy director of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund, said the choice of French voters on April 24 would have profound consequences in France and on the world stage.
“Especially in foreign policy – the view that Marine Le Pen promotes is completely different from the view that Emmanuel Macron supports,” he said.
Quencez said that despite Le Pen’s attempt to normalize his image and cut out some of the most controversial passages from his project, the details of his site have not really changed much. “It’s still about breaking away from NATO’s military command and reconsidering France’s alliance with the European Union, the United States and Russia.”
Macron will take the news home in the next two weeks: the referendum on Le Pen will be a vote to take France in a dangerous new direction. The Macron campaign advertisement shows Le Pen half (Russian President Vladimir)’s face, with Le Pen quoting a journalist on March 31 as asking, “Can Putin be an ally of the West again?” Asked the reporter.
“Of course,” Le Pen said.