Pro-EU Macron wins France’s presidency, Le Pen hopes dashed

May 8, 2017


Ripping up France’s political map, French voters elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron as the country’s youngest president Sunday, delivering a resounding victory to the unabashedly pro-European former investment banker and dashing the populist dream of far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Macron, who had never run for office before, celebrated with thousands of jubilant, flag-waving supporters outside the Louvre Museum in Paris on Sunday night.

The European anthem “Ode to Joy” played as he strode out to address the swelling crowd.

“France has won!” he said. “Everyone said it was impossible. But they do not know France!”

Marine Le Pen, his far-right opponent in the runoff, quickly called the 39-year-old Macron to concede after voters rejected her “French-first” nationalism by a large margin. Le Pen’s performance punctured her hopes that the populist wave which swept Donald Trump into the White House and led Britain to vote to leave the EU would also carry her to France’s presidential Elysee Palace.

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4 comments on “Pro-EU Macron wins France’s presidency, Le Pen hopes dashed

  • Macron’s open invitation to American scientists to go and work in France is a welcome, smart and encouraging start to his term in office; if the present incumbent in America is intent on encumbering scientific progress in his country then he deserves to lose his scientists. This wave of cheap and nasty anti-intellectual populist nonsense is reminiscent of 1917 Russia. America once led the World in science and technology and if it is now to avoid reaching its nadir in those disciplines it must jettison this ignoramus of a president!

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  • My joy at the result is tempered by the realization that some 11 million French citizens went into a polling booth and willingly cast a ballot for a party which is fascist and racist. Trump is a buffoon but even he doesn’t approach the level of demagoguery and intolerance of Le Pen.

    However I believe, (and hope), that most of the people who voted for the National Front are not racists, merely concerned citizens prepared to overlook the more odious policies and pronouncements of Le Pen, In that case Macron and the EU have their work cut out to persuade them of the benefits of immigration and closer integration with the EU. Heres hoping they succeed.

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  • john.wb #2
    May 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

    My joy at the result is tempered by the realization that some 11 million French citizens went into a polling booth and willingly cast a ballot for a party which is fascist and racist.

    However the outcome seems to have left the far-right in disarray! – They could end up like UKIP as a political irritation, while making headlines about in-fighting with each other!

    French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet in accordance with an earlier pledge, with 11 of 22 posts taken by women.

    Sylvie Goulard is defence minister while Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel is sports minister.

    Bruno Le Maire is economy minister, Gérard Collomb is interior minister and François Bayrou is justice minister.

    Mr Macron’s decision to pluck figures from across the political spectrum has sent the French right into disarray.

    Mr Le Maire is a conservative moderate, Mr Collomb is the Socialist mayor of Lyon and Mr Bayrou is a veteran centrist.

    As well as the political centre ground, Mr Macron also took in figures from the left.

    The announcement was delayed after candidates were background-checked for their tax records and any potential conflicts of interest.

    It comes amid consternation among forces of both the left and right at Mr Macron’s offer to join him in his political project of bridging the divide.

    After he named Republican Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday, more than 170 elected conservatives agreed to sign up to the project, some claiming they were witnessing the “transformation” of politics.

    However, the Republican party rejected Mr Macron’s “outstretched hand” ahead of upcoming election.

    It announced it was expelling Mr Phillipe, along with new economy minister Bruno Le Maire, and Gérald Darmanin, who took responsibility for public accounts.

    In response, Mr Le Maire said he had “chosen to serve” and said he believed “France is worth more than all the [political] parties”.

    Ahead of the June legislative elections, Republican campaign chief François Baroin accused Mr Macron of “putting a bomb under politics rather than remodelling it”.

    The initiative has also been criticised on the left, with defeated Socialist presidential candidate Benoît Hamon among the dissenters.

    “Who can think that the left will pull itself together if it is part of a coalition led by a member of the Republican party?” he said.

    Separately, Mr Macron met the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to start talks on an “ambitious European policy”.

    The new president had promised to reform the EU while remaining an ardent supporter.

    Mr Tusk told the French leader: “Europe needs your energy, your imagination and your courage.”

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  • john.wb #2
    May 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

    My joy at the result is tempered by the realization that some 11 million French citizens went into a polling booth and willingly cast a ballot for a party which is fascist and racist.

    It seems there is a similar situation developing in the Czech Republic!

    Populist billionaire candidate Andrej Babis and his party have won the Czech Republic’s general election.

    Mr Babis, 63, is the country’s second-richest man and campaigned on an anti-establishment and Eurosceptic platform.

    With all votes counted, his centrist movement ANO (Yes) collected a share of almost 30% – nearly three times that of its closest rival.

    The centre-right Civic Democrats and the Pirates Party came second and third with more than 10% each.

    The Pirates will make their debut in parliament with 22 seats, the news agency AFP reported.

    Mr Babis is now set to become prime minister after coalition negotiations. However, he told news agency Reuters that while he had “invited everyone for talks”, he was not prepared to “cooperate” with either the far-right, anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy party or the Communist Party.

    The 63-year-old made his estimated $4bn (£3bn) fortune in chemicals, food and media – but he has also faced numerous scandals including a fraud indictment and accusations he was a communist-era police agent.

    He says he would not bring the Czech Republic in to the eurozone but he wants the country to stay in the EU, telling Reuters he would propose changes to the European Council on issues like food quality and a “solution to migration”.

    Far-right and far-left groups made gains in the election.

    ANO (Yes): 29.6%
    Civic Democratic Party: 11.3%
    The Czech Pirate Party: 10.8%
    Freedom and Free Democracy party (SPD) : 10.6%
    Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM): 7.8%
    Social Democrats (CSSD): 7.3%

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