Macron is re-elected, but far-right won – 24/04/2022

Exactly 20 years ago, in April 2002, Jean Marie Le Pen caused an earthquake by placing the xenophobic extreme right in the second round of presidential elections in France.

His vote was regarded as an outrage to the republic. In a gesture of uniting democratic forces, Jacques Chirac was elected with 82% of the votes. And Europe breathed a sigh of relief.

Today, two decades later, Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected for another five years as President of France. But the reality is that the far right won.

Marine Le Pen, daughter of the movement’s founder, recorded a record vote for her party, with 12 million votes, against 17 million for Macron. And, as a legacy of the electoral process, it obtained two conquests. Her movement was normalized as part of the political landscape and gained the status today as the main opposition to power.

Ecologists, who had hoped to have greater appeal, failed. And the traditional Socialist Party was humiliated, turned into a dwarf force. Anne Hidalgo’s candidacy ended with 1.8% of the vote.

If in 2017 Marine Le Pen added 33% of the votes, today the first indications point out that she would finish the process with 42% of support, an absolute record. In the first round, she won in 20 thousand communes.

His advance was conquered, above all, in the “France of Shadows”, that far from the light of Paris. Surveys revealed that the support she garnered was overwhelming among the uneducated population. But she took just 12% of the vote among college-educated voters.

Before the election, polls indicated that more than 72% of the population with a monthly income above 2,600 euros would vote for the president. But Macron had only 41% of the votes among the poorest strata, calculated from those with salaries below €970.

Those same polls pointed out that Macron would win 69% of the votes in the Paris area. But less than 45% in rural areas.

Where did Le Pen seduce? For analysts, its unprecedented result was the consequence of its decision to reduce – at least publicly – its ideological discourse and replace it with an unavoidable theme: how to survive in the face of rising prices and a decreasing income?

It is not by chance that when he reached the second round once again, Le Pen had the audacity to ask for votes from “left to right”, in the name of social justice. She, who was always guided by dividing the country through hatred, gave herself the task of “uniting France”.

Unlike past elections, it has indeed managed to attract a share of votes from other parties. Polls, before Sunday, indicated that 17% of voters from the traditional right had migrated to Le Pen in the second round and 16% of votes for current left-wing leader Jean Luc Melenchon would also benefit the far-right candidate.

The result this Sunday is still a response from the loyalist wing to Marine Le Pen within his party. In the last two years, in regional elections, the Rassemblement National has suffered major defeats and has seen a hemorrhage of politicians. In 2022, with a new discourse, she returns to the center of the movement.

Macron’s election was received by other European countries as a relief, in an already uncertain scenario in the face of the war in Ukraine. But the results also showed that the political existence of the far right vying for power is no longer an accident.

Today, the extreme right has the support of 40% of the military and 70% of the police, has the highest French representation in the European Parliament and is no longer feared by half of the French, in an eventual government.

She still managed to hijack the political agenda, even though she was in the opposition, and forcing the other parties to debate issues that the far right imposed.

Assimilated in the country and in the dinner table debate, Marine Le Pen’s representatives managed to make issues such as immigration gain their own contours to the point that Macron’s ministers now accuse her of being too soft on the Islamic threat.

This Sunday, in Evian, many in line to vote knew who would win the 2022 election. But the question everyone was asking was another: who will stop the far right in five years?

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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