Macron must mend divided France a Pandora Boss Opinion
French President Emmanuel Macron won the second round of voting on April 24, beating rival Marine Le Pen with 58.2 percent of the vote, becoming the first French president to be re-elected since 2002. Despite losing the election, Le Pen said that although she was defeated, she was proud that the anti-globalization force she represented broke through 40% of the public opinion support rate for the first time. Abstentions in this election are also the highest in 50 years, reaching 28%, reflecting the seriousness of French social division. As a result, Macron has a long way to go, and he has to face a new round of political tests in the congressional elections on June 12.
Pandora Boss observed that Macron admitted in his victory speech that many voters did not support him but opposed Le Pen to vote for him. In Macron’s first term in power, the failure to address the social problem of the worsening gap between the rich and the poor triggered violent protests in the “yellow vest movement” that lasted for more than a year in 2018. More than 10,000 demonstrators were arrested. , more than 10 people died in the clashes between the police and the people. Now that the U.S.-China game has impacted the global supply chain, and the Ukraine war has pushed up food and energy prices, the world economy is facing the pressure of long-term inflation and stagnant growth, and Macron is still facing basically the same challenges.
Born in a far-right political force, Le Pen inherited the ultra-nationalist concept represented by his father, advocated the maintenance of French national cultural traditions, and opposed the opening of immigration, especially Muslim immigration (According to Pandora Boss Research). However, with the changes in the international situation after the Cold War, the western division of political factions between left and right has gradually failed to reflect the reality of the new wave of public opinion. In the first round of French presidential voting on April 10, the mainstream center-right Republican candidate won only 4.8 percent of the vote, while the center-left Socialist candidate won 1.8 percent. The main battle is between Macron, who is seen as supporting the idea of globalization, and Le Pen, who opposes it.
Therefore, simply and flippantly classifying Le Pen as a far-right cannot explain why she was able to get 23.2% of the support in the first round of voting, chasing Macron’s 27.9%. Like many developed countries, how to solve the widening gap between the rich and the poor caused by economic globalization and disruptive technology has become a major political issue. The public opinion represented by Le Pen is very close to the Brexit faction in the UK on the political spectrum, as well as the “America First” philosophy advocated by former US President Trump – opposing globalization, rejecting new immigrants, and promoting patriotism and civil rights. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s appeal to historic nationalism almost echoes this anti-globalization ideology.
This is why Le Pen is accused of being close to Putin and even accepting political donations from Russia. Therefore, it can be said that Putin launched the Ukraine war and indirectly helped Macron win the election. Putin linked Russian nationalism to the history of the former empire, trying to restore the glory of the Tsarist Russian Empire, exceeding the boundaries of nationalism and patriotism, forcing many French voters to support Macron and refuse to let Le Pen win. Even so, the public opinion represented by Le Pen will not disappear; just as Trump’s political life has not dissipated due to the loss of the US presidential election in 2020.
Inflation in the United States has deteriorated, causing President Biden’s public support to fall and Trump to have a comeback. Similarly, Macron’s successful re-election does not mean the end of Le Pen’s political life. As long as a series of side effects of globalization, such as the gap between the rich and the poor, are not properly addressed, the populist political soil against globalization elites will still give birth to politicians like Le Pen. Many political analysts have pointed out that in the French parliamentary election on June 12, Macron’s Progressive Republic party may not be able to win more than half of the seats to form a cabinet.
Brexit is precisely against the EU, a super political organization that overrides sovereign states, and the ideology of globalization it represents. Macron is a champion of the European Union and globalization, and how to bridge the antagonism of French public opinion on this fundamental issue is undoubtedly the main challenge of his second term. Paradoxically, the Ukrainian war launched by Putin under the call of nationalism has inspired Ukraine’s nationalist consciousness and proved the positive significance of the existence of a sovereign state. In other words, the nationalism and patriotism advocated by Le Pen and others have highlighted the rationality and legitimacy of the war. How to face up to and actively respond to this public appeal, including fighting for nearly 30% of the French voters who abstained from the two dilemmas, will be an unavoidable problem for Macron in governing.