After how our elections turned out in November, the world held it’s breath for the results of the French elections. With one candidate, Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European liberal, and the other, Marine Le Pen, on the far-right, this was a diversion from the usual French politics. Traditionally, the leaders of France have been either members of the Socialist party or the centre-right. But like the US, a new wave of populism has taken over and caused a deviation from politics as usual.
Most people following the French election remarked that Marine Le Pen, who ran on an anti-terrorist platform that rhetorically mimicked Donald Trump’s attacks on Islam and Muslims around the world while he was on the campaign trail in America. She also was in the shadow of her father, who was a Holocaust denier and self-professed anti-Semitic. Similarly, Trump and members of his cabinet have “mis-remembered” aspects of the Holocaust. Le Pen eventually denounced her father’s racist remarks, but her delay followed her in the public perception throughout the election. Le Pen also campaigned as an anti-establishment candidate and a nationalist, which was the most important aspect to the global community. She praised Brexit, which some feel destabilized the EU. Le Pen wanted France to be less involved in Europe and the EU. Her nationalist approach to politics was also reminiscent of Donald Trump’s philosophy during the 2016 electoral process. It is all of these attributes that led people around the world to remark that Marine Le Pen was a “female Trump.”
Ultimately Le Pen was defeated by Emmanuel Macron, in a sweeping victory. Macron, tho youngest president in French history, ran on a platform of strength and continued attempts at unity in the face of the recent terrorist attacks France has experienced. He also wanted France to be more involved in the affairs of Europe and the European Union. In the second round of voting, Macron polled at 60% over Le Pen. He then decisively triumphed on May 7, 2017. It is significant to note that, like in the US, many eligible voters abstained from voting at all. Nevertheless, 66% of voters preferred Macron’s plan to loosen labor laws, and make France more globally competitive as well as more intwined with the European Union, which calmed fears of global economic instability. Macron, in his victory speech, promised to do what was necessary to combat terrorism
After Macron’s victory, a rave was held at the Louvre in the country’s capital of Paris. Videos of the victory party have made many-including myself-yearn for a similar response to political victory in the US (as soon as we deserve it).