Macron pledges to tackle ‘doubts and divisions’ after election win

Emmanuel Macron pledged to address deep divisions within France as results showed a clear presidential election win over Marine Le Pen, acknowledging that many had voted for him mainly to thwart his far-right challenger.

With all eyes turned towards a parliamentary election in June, he must now negotiate another tricky period of campaigning to try to ensure a legislature that will give him the majority he will need to implement his policies.

Final results of Sunday’s runoff showed Mr. Macron won 58.54% of the vote against 41.45% for Ms. Le Pen, a result in line with late polling but a higher margin of victory than many earlier surveys had predicted.

The result also give the far right its biggest share of the presidential ballot on record.

Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte Macron greet voters in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris after beating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte Macron greet voters in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris after beating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen. | Photo Credit: AURELIEN MEUNIER

“Many in this country voted for me not because they support my ideas but to keep out those of the far-right. I want to thank them and know I owe them a debt in the years to come,” Mr. Macron said in a late-night victory speech.

“We will have to be benevolent and respectful because our country is riddled with so many doubts, so many divisions.”

While Mr. Macron’s margin of victory was comfortable, it was well below the 66.1% he scored against the same opponent in their first runoff in 2017, and even further from the 82% secured by conservative Jacques Chirac in 2002 when the far-right first made it to the runoff round.

It is a ballot in which Opposition parties of all stripes will be hoping to win.

‘Third round’

Hard-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon — who came a close third behind Ms. Le Pen in the first round — immediately labelled the June 12 and June 19 parliamentary elections a “third round” of the presidential election.

The conservative daily Le Figaro wrote in its main editorial on Monday: “In truth, the marble statue is a giant with feet of clay. Emmanuel Macron knows this well... he will not benefit from any grace period.”

The message across Mr. Macron’s camp on Monday was that they would listen more, after a first mandate in which Mr. Macron himself initially called his leadership style “Jupiterian”, suggesting he would stay above the political fray.

Mr. Macron can likely expect the protests that have marred some of his first mandate to come back as he tries to push his business reforms, including plans to push the retirement age from 62 to 65 years.

“He’s not going to do another five years of the same mandate, that’s clear. We won’t let him do it,” said 63-year-old administrative worker Colette Sierra.

“If he does, I think people are ready to take to the streets if there isn’t the right kind of coalition government.”

But some voters were genuinely happy with Mr. Macron’s win. “I’m very happy about the result because this president has already steered us through several challenges,” said 65-year-old lorry driver Lucien Sozinho.

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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 3:29:44 am |