|French President-Elect Emmanuel Macron|
Photo from Twitter
Emmanuelle Macron won the French Presidential Election on Sunday over Marine Le Pen. Outgoing President Francois Hollande did not run for reelection after dismal approval ratings scared him off. That means that a political centrist will now be in charge of one of the world's most important democracies.
Macron and Le Pen, the candidate of the National Front, a far right political party, had emerged from the field of candidates as the two top vote getters last month. Early polls showed the race too close to call. Macron became the target of reputation damaging stories in the press, and there was a flurry of last minute interference by the same influences that seem to have possibly at least attempted to interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election. None of that had an effect. In fact, Macron trounced Le Pen garnering over 66 percent of the vote.
This was a strong rebuke of the far right forces that have taken hold in several major worldwide countries. Donald Trump had softly backed (not openly) Le Pen as had several forces that also pushed through the Brexit in Great Britain. Le Pen wanted to take France out of the European Union, and that would have doomed the EU and thrown the world economy into an uncertain place. Le Pen also has similar anti-immigrant views as Trump and, despite an effort to cleanse her party's image, Le Pen's National Front Party had leadership, in the past, that denied the Holocaust as well as what many others determined racist and anti-semitic views.
Now Macron has to govern, and politics aside, the French did elect a man with a few things in common with Trump. Macron has little experience in politics. This is his first elected position. Like Congress, the French National Assembly is also a factionalized mess with more factions and parties represented than in Washington. It's going to be interesting to see how Macron puts together his team as he has to tiptoe a careful line. Far right folks are already attacking Macron for his acceptance speech that featured the European Union's Anthem "Ode to Joy". They say he'll be a yes man for the European Union. Really, he's a bit of an enigma. He also comes to power at a time when France has been reeling from a wave of violent terrorist attacks including one in the days leading up to the Presidential Election itself.
What's clear is that, for now, France avoided the fate of the United States or Great Britain. What that means right now and from here is anyone's guess.