France: A Fake Win for Emmanuel Macron

As expected, Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the French presidential election on April 24, receiving 58.5% of the votes, against Marine Le Pen who came in at 41.5%. While Le Pen did make considerable gains compared to her results in the 2017 race against Macron, neither candidate did spectacularly well. The abstention rate (28%) was the highest recorded since 1969, while those who cast blank ballots (refusing to choose one or the other candidate) reached 6.3%. According to calculations done by Le Monde, if all registered voters are taken into account (which includes abstentionists, plus blank and invalid ballots), Macron ends up with only 38.5% of the vote, and Marine Le Pen with 27.3%.

In fact, in France, as in most EU member states, the population is increasingly furious with, and mistrustful of, the powers in place that have sold them out. That was obvious in the first round, when Marine Le Pen and leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon together received over 45% of the vote (cf. SAS 15-16/22). The dividing lines are no longer “left versus right”, as seen in the fact that in many French towns, as well as in Martinique and Guadeloupe, the same voters who had handed a big victory to Mélenchon, then voted massively for Le Pen on April 24.

Now, the next decisive battle will be the legislative elections, scheduled for mid June, which are informally called the “third and fourth rounds” of the presidential race. Indeed, President Macron’s party, LREM, is expected to be heavily sanctioned by the voters, which will make it difficult for him to continue as before. However, true to his profile as a chameleon, Macron has already announced major changes in the government and an eagerness to compromise.

A number of candidates supported by Solidarité et Progrès (S&P) , together with those of George Kuzmanovic’s party République souveraine and others, will run under the common banner of “La Raison du Peuple” to present a workable alternative to the current breakdown process. In a statement issued on April 25, Jacques Cheminade, the president of S&P, notes that the real, pressing “concerns of the French population and the challenges facing the world” were “swept aside” during the presidential campaign. The “ruling classes” are oblivious to “the general welfare”, because they think they are “the only legitimate holders of power” Thus, “they have made themselves blind and impotent.”

While in France itself, Cheminade notes, “everything has become too expensive”, on a worldwide level, France has become subservient to NATO, in a situation of extreme war danger, and nothing is done to prevent the looming “economic disintegration”.

In that context, Cheminade writes, S&P will participate in the legislative election process to bring citizens together, in “an embryo of union”, beyond ideologies and personal ambitions. Together, “we will fight the international financial oligarchy and its military-industrial complex, which is our real enemy, not this or that party or this or that nation, however misguided”.

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