French Election Results: A Victory for a De Facto Popular Block

The results of the first round of the French presidential elections, held on April 9, seem to be a remake of the 2017 script: Emmanuel Macron versus Marine Le Pen. While the actors are the same (which Solidarité et Progrès as well as 2/3 of the voters hoped to prevent), the context is very different.

Macron’s result of 27,6 % is quite low for an incumbent President. By contrast, Le Pen’s total score of 23.4 % is a good showing, and 3.4 % more than in 2017. And she won it despite the fact that the French oligarchy, represented by Vincent Bolloré, launched against her the candidacy of extreme right-wing racist Eric Zemmour, who siphoned off 7% of the vote.

Then, there are the results of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the president of the left-wing “France insoumise” who, for the first time received 22 % of the vote, just behind Marine Le Pen. If you add up Le Pen’s and Melenchon’s votes , it makes 45,4 % of the vote, i.e. about 18 points more than Macron received.

But does it make sense to add up these two votes, given that one is “far right”, and the other “far left? Yes it does, because breaking with her profile, Marine Le Pen chose not to campaign on the issues of immigration, insecurity and identity, as she was being egged on by some quarters, but on the huge drop in living standards of the French population and the lack of a future offered to its youth and elderly alike. And so did Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Furthermore, despite other differences, the two parties campaigned on the need for French independence, in particular in the areas of foreign and defense policies. Both favor a position of equilibrium for France to be able to talk to Russia and China, and all other forces, outside the logic of blocs. And both are for the re-establishment of the sovereignty that was lost to the EU.

True, both movements need to progress in key areas, which is what Jacques Cheminade’s Solidarité et Progrès party will work on in the coming months, beginning with next June’s legislative elections. A badly advised Mélenchon has become anti-nuclear in recent years, and will not be able to organize a rise in living standards if he sticks to that position. Le Pen’s favors nuclear power, however, her anti-immigration policy remains inhuman, even if it was not the main issue of her campaign. The refusal to grant medical treatment to illegal immigrants, for example, would only endanger the lives of all French citizens.

Overall, a majority of French citizens voted for policies of industrial, and social progress for the nation and for stability in international relations. They brutally rejected the parties most associated with the declining order of globalization and financial looting: Anne Hidalgo of the Socialist Party got 1,7%, Valérie Pécresse of Les Républicains 4.8%, and Yannick Jadot of the Green Party 4.4%.

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