Why the right-wing populists didn't win France's presidential election

Lena Tucker
May 9, 2017

The movement is to be renamed La Republique en Marche ("The Republic on the Move"). "France has voted for continuity", she admitted last night, but then added: "I therefore promise to undertake a thorough transformation of our movement to constitute a new political force". He won with 66.1% of the vote, over 33.9% for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, making him the eighth president of the Fifth Republic.

During the French presidential campaign, Putin was believed to be throwing his weight behind far-right Le Pen.

Macron, Hollande's former economy minister, started his own independent movement En Marche ("On The Move") in April previous year but has no party structure behind him.

If victory for Le Pen had never been predicted by French opinion polls, her supporters and strategists did not exclude a surprise win "à-la-Trump", or at least a result above 40 percent - which would allow her to claim the undisputed mantle of leader of the opposition.

"Emmanuel Macron was elected in a solid way, by a third of the votes, but we saw there were also many abstentions, blank votes, many, many more than usual", said Henri Rey, a political analyst in Paris.

"With terrorism, unemployment and Trump, the environment was so favorable, so favorable", said Jean-Francois Touze, a senior National Front official when the party was led by Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie. "I respect them", Macron said in an address at his campaign headquarters, shown live on television.

For more than four decades the National Front has been edging its way into French politics.

"Now we have a person who really wants progress, so it's absolutely exceptional", he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Le Pen derisively said last week would be France's de facto leader under a Macron presidency, welcomed his win but appeared cautious about proposals to support his economic plans either by relaxing European spending rules or with a dedicated stimulus fund.

She referred to this battle as "patriot vs globalist", a clear choice between French national values on one side, European bureaucracy and profit-oriented globalization on the other.

In a phone call with Macron, May "briefly" discussed Brexit and the prime minister "reiterated that the United Kingdom wants a strong partnership", Downing Street said. May has called an early election for June 8, arguing that her Conservatives need a bigger majority in order to stand firm against - and strike deals with - the EU.

Macron himself has signalled that he wants to take the middle road.

On the financial front, European stock markets edged down in early trading as investors had been widely expecting Macron's victory.

The euro had been on a rising trend in the days ahead of the election, as investors began to position for a Macron victory.

But by midmorning in NY, the euro fell 0.5 percent to $1.0944 against the dollar, and 0.4 percent versus the yen to 123.45 yen. Other indexes across Europe also dipped, while the euro, which briefly hit a six-month high above $1.10 overnight, was down 0.7 percent at $1.0924.

Helena Alves in Paris and Carlo Piovano in London contributed.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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