Macron and Le Pen are fighting the younger voters

A woman walks past the damaged election posters of the French presidential election for my March! (First!) Movement Emmanuel Macron and National Front Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen, candidates for the French presidential election on May 04, 2017 in Paris, France.

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While Emmanuel Macron sighed with relief that Sunday night’s vote was not imminent, digging deeper into the election data shows a worrying trend for the French president.

The results of the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday caused a clear wake-up call for the current leader. The apparently shocked, center-right former investment banker spoke to supporters after coming out five percentage points ahead of far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

“Make no mistake, nothing has been decided,” Macron told a rally Sunday night. “We will be humble and determined … I want to extend my hand to all those who want to work for France.”

The decision, which saw Macron win 28.3% of the vote and Le Pen 23.3%, holding a second election between the two on April 24, is a danger not only to France but to Europe as a whole. Dramatically different views.

This photo, taken in Toulouse, southwestern France, on April 10, 2022, shows screens showing televised results showing the planned results after the first round of polling in the French presidential election.

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In third place was far-left Socialist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon with 21% of the vote, followed by far-right freshman Eric Zemmour with 7.2%. Le Pen and Macron now have two weeks to try to win as many voters as they can before the final vote.

Faced with a war in eastern Europe, France’s stock could hardly be higher than it has been on the continent since World War II, the highest level of inflation in decades.

And in stark contrast to political trends in other parts of the Western world, older French voters, especially those over 70, are more liberal, while younger voters are increasingly drawn to the far left and right.

Anger and frustration among young voters

According to Ipsos poll data, Macron was the only voter over the age of 60 And Mலlenchon and Le Pen received the most votes from 18-24 year olds. Young people in France tend to vote less, which may be good for Macron in this regard, but he still needs to attract more left-wing audiences to capture many of those votes as secondary.

Data from a poll group called Harris Interactive The far-left M மெlenchon won with 34.8% of the vote in the 18-24 age group, with Macron and Le Pen receiving 24.3% and 18% of the vote, respectively. Le Pen took the largest proportion of voters aged 25-49 to 30%.

He received 28.8% of the vote and advanced to the 35-49 age group. He won 37.5% of voters over the age of 65 and 28% of voters aged 50-64.

Rather than reflecting a change in social values, some analysts say, the leaning of younger voters to the far right and far left reveals the appeal of economic populism backed by Le Pen and Mலlenchon and the rejection of current globalization. .

As Macron faces a nationwide cost-of-living crisis, his pitch for younger voters and those in the political spectrum is far more challenging than he previously expected, as there is widespread belief in the country that he is the “leader of the rich”. .

The increase in the popularity of candidates at the extreme ends of the spectrum is “an expression of anger at the loss of years of their lives due to the Govt epidemic and government locks; part of its stance against the establishment against the French government.” Brussels-based international political affairs expert Julian Hoss told CNBC.

“On top of this, there are generational, economic, employment and cultural pressures throughout the French community that have been taken up and armed by parties such as the RN and LFI,” Hoez said, referring to Le Pen’s national rally and Melenchon’s La France Insoumise.

Bread and butter issues

Le Pen, who has softened the image of his and his party’s national rally in recent years, has shifted to bread and butter issues such as the cost of living centered on immigration and national identity. With inflation in the euro area at an all-time high, his message echoes.

According to an Ipsos poll released on April 10, purchasing power and cost of living are the most important issues for 58% of voters, and there is a clear majority for all ages except those aged 18 to 24. .

Le Pen called on voters with proposals for tax cuts on energy in the wake of inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Macron, meanwhile, has promised some tax cuts, but is pushing for an increase in the retirement age and a reduction in public sector employment – something he now needs to support among left-wing voters.

Macron wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65, and is the only candidate aimed at abolishing the special pension scheme for some government employees, which includes key benefits and a lower retirement age. Zemmour wants to raise the retirement age to 64, and Le Pen plans to leave it unchanged, but lowers it to 60 for those who have started working at 20 or younger. Mலlenchon wanted to reduce it to 60.

In a speech following Sunday’s election, Jemmour urged his supporters to vote for Le Pen, while Mன்சlenchon urged his supporters to vote for anyone other than him. However, he did not go so far as to support Macron, who would have been praised by the incumbent president.

Ukraine effect

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