PARIS — Centrist Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on Sunday, winning more than 65 percent of the vote to beat far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a runoff vote, according to projections of the result by pollsters for French media.
Lights out for France. The French have chosen not to be so “racist” and “Islamophobic” as to resist the jihad that is being waged against them with ever greater ferocity. Europe as a whole, too, appears to be poised to make the same choice, and vote itself out of existence. And then it will be America’s turn.
“Victory for the young, pro-EU centrist will be greeted with relief in key European capitals,” yes, and with grief among those who have dared to cherish the hope that the West would make a last stand for freedom. Instead, the French have voted overwhelmingly for the proposition that to defend one’s nation and culture is “bigoted.” And so decent French people will not defend these things, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well, until the final jihadist blade severs the last French non-bigot’s head from his neck.
Speaking to supporters shortly after the result was announced, Le Pen conceded defeat but said her National Front party would transform itself to become the main opposition to a Macron presidency. “I call on all patriots to join us,” she said. “France will need you more than ever in the months to come.”
Macron was expected to address a victory rally outside the Louvre Palace later in the evening. His stronger-than-expected victory is a stunning achievement for the novice to electoral politics, at 39 the youngest president in the history of France’s Fifth Republic. And it is the third consecutive setback for European populist parties who preached a mix of Trump-like nationalism and protectionism to voters fed up with conventional politics.
After Britain’s shock vote to leave the EU last June and Donald Trump’s rise to the American presidency in November, the West’s political establishments turned their anxious attention to a series of potentially disruptive elections in Europe. A far-right candidate barely lost Austria’s presidential vote in December, and the Dutch reelected mainstream parties in March. Elections in Britain and Germany are on the horizon in coming months, but those outcomes aren’t likely to disturb the status quo.
“The French have chosen a European future” — Jean-Claude Juncker
France was the most important electoral test of 2017 in Europe. Though portrayed as an outsider, Macron emerged from the establishment, served in the government of outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande and pushed a French version of Bill Clinton’s old triangulation, a reformed left in the guise of centrism. The alternative in France wasn’t just Le Pen, on the further reaches of the right, but also the far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who between them got more than 40 percent of the vote in the first round two weeks ago.
European leaders in Brussels and Berlin will breathe a sigh of relief over the outcome, seeing in Macron a firm supporter of the EU. Before the first round of voting, President Trump praised Le Pen but stopped short of endorsing her. Former President Barack Obama endorsed Macron, who represents continuity in France, Europe and for the trans-Atlantic relationship.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that he was happy “the French had chosen a European future.”
A former investment banker and economy minister, Macron campaigned on a liberal pro-EU platform while Le Pen wanted to clamp down on immigration, possibly leave the euro single currency — along with the European Union itself — and impose economic protectionism.
Macron’s victory was larger than had been predicted in opinion polls, which had given him a lead of around 20 percentage points in the days before the election.
Yet the far-right can also take some comfort in its best electoral showing in French history. Although Le Pen fell well short of the presidency, her score is roughly double what her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, got in the second round in 2002.
Macron came out on top in the first round of the election two weeks earlier to qualify for the runoff alongside second-placed Le Pen.
In the coming days, he will replace Hollande, who decided not to run for re-election due to his low popularity ratings.
Macron’s next challenge will be to win a majority in a parliamentary election next month. To do so, he will have to break the mold once more. His own political movement, En Marche (“On the move”), was formed just last year and this will be the first time it has fielded parliamentary candidates.
He takes charge of the EU’s third largest economy, which is struggling with higher than average unemployment, particularly among young people
A shock win for Ms Le Pen would have upended French politics and plunged the EU into a fresh crisis. On the campaign trail, the Front National figurehead had pledged to close borders, withdraw France from the euro zone and scrap trade treaties.
But even in defeat, the 48-year-old’s vote is projected to be about twice what her party scored the last time it reached the presidential second round, in 2002, illustrating the scale of voter disaffection with mainstream politics in France.
Fusing the nativist, anti-immigrant policies with which her father, Jean-Marie, established the Front National as a force in French politics, with her own anti-globalisation and protectionist rhetoric, Ms Le Pen significantly expanded the party’s base….
Sources: Politico/EU and Jihad Watch