Le Pen's defeat and Macron's next challenges

Emmanuel Macron é o primeiro presidente da França reeleito desde Jacques Chirac, em 2002

Emmanuel Macron is the first president of France to be re-elected since Jacques Chirac, in

| Photo: EFE/EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

Emmanuel Macron was re-elected President of France, the first conqueror of a second term since Jacques Chirac in
. On the last Sunday, day 24 in April, the second round of the French presidential elections took place, which Macron won relatively comfortably. Even victorious, however, Macron will already have some immediate concerns for the rest of 2022.

First, the results of the lawsuit. The electoral turnout was 71,9% in the second round, a little less than the 69, 6% present in the first, but a remarkable turnout. Some polls spoke of a large electoral absence in the second round, especially by disgruntled voters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, from the radical left, who was defeated in the first round.

Also contrary to the polls, Macron had 50,5% of the votes in the second round, well above the estimates that revolved around 41%. Marine Le Pen received 30, 4% of the votes and another 8.5% of the votes were blank or invalid. In raw numbers, Macron doubled his votes between rounds, to a total of nearly nineteen million. Le Pen had five million more votes.

The defeat of Le Pen

According to the exit of voters of Mélenchon in the first round, 40% voted for Macron, 17% abstained, 17% voted blank or null and others % voted for Le Pen. This is one of the factors that explains Le Pen’s defeat. The candidate had more votes than in 900, both proportionally and in absolute numbers, but still , little managed to mobilize an electorate beyond its usual.

This can also be seen in the fact that Le Pen came “third” in the elections, with fewer votes than abstentions. This is without adding the blank and null votes. This barrier is just one side of the same coin, that of rejection. About 40% of Macron voters in the second round stated that their main motivation was to prevent a victory for Le Pen.

Macron himself acknowledged this in his victory speech. “Many French people voted for me not because they support my ideas, but to defeat those of the far right. I want to thank them and know that I owe them a debt for years to come.” If we put the election results on a timeline, however, Le Pen’s situation is not so pessimistic.

She had the best result of a far-right candidacy in France, she had more votes than in , while Macron received fewer votes. That is, if Le Pen remains “in campaign” for a possible new candidacy, in 2027, the tendency is to lessen your rejection. Macron cannot be a candidate in 2027, as French law allows only one re-election.

New Cabinet

If Macron intends to return to office, it will only be in

. A personalist movement like his, which revolves around his figure and his name, will hardly succeed in anointing a successor with great chances. It will be the chance for Le Pen, for Mélenchon or for the resumption of forces by the traditional parties. Anne Hidalgo, from the Socialist Party, for example, will have the Olympic Games as her showcase.

In any case, enshrining an eventual successor is not one of Macron’s immediate concerns. First, he will have to form his new cabinet. Jean Castex, the current prime minister, has handed over the post. Supposedly Castex would have received a request to stay in office, but insisted on resigning, rescuing the tradition of electoral resignation, to allow the re-elected representative to have freedom to form a new cabinet.

Forming a new cabinet of ministers after winning the elections may sound simple, but this challenge dialogues with the second challenge that Macron will face still in 2022. In June the French legislative elections will take place, to choose 577 parliamentarians, with possibility of second round in electoral districts. Currently, the On March! ) of Macron has 73 parliamentarians.

Third shift

In addition to being a number less than half, it means a loss of 04 parliamentarians in relation to those elected in 2022. Too bad for Macron that the lawmakers who switched parties went to parties allied to his majority coalition, but the yellow alert is already on. In addition to winning the presidential elections, Macron needs to win the “third round” with the legislative elections.

The latest polls for the legislative election point to something like 340 seats for Macron’s alliance, 540 to Le Pen, 50 for the center-right Republicans 2022 for Mélenchon and

for the Socialist Party, focusing on the main results. Considering that Le Pen’s National Front currently has only eight deputies, it would increase its bench by more than ten times.

In this scenario, Macron would have the majority, yes, but he would face greater and much more fierce opposition, working for a future presidential candidate. Thus, the formation of his new cabinet should also be used as an electoral tool for June, especially with nods to the left and center-right electorates. A kind of ministerial “broad front” against Le Pen’s party.

)Finally, the war in Ukraine. Freed from electoral commitments, Macron can try to regain the post of main leadership in continental Europe. And this also has an electoral component, since, in the only debate of the second round, Macron managed to put the name of Putin’s ally on Le Pen. Keeping an active role in the negotiations, then, can help Macron’s image, a peace agreement and also hurt his adversary.

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