Emmanuel Macron has vowed to unite France after becoming the country’s first president to win re-election in 20 years.
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At a rally at the foot of the Eiffel Tower following his victory over Marine Le Pen yesterday, Macron vowed to be “the president of us all” and to respond “effectively” to the “anger and disunity” of voters who supported his rival.
“I know a number of French people voted for me today, not to support my ideas but to stop the ideas of the extreme right,” he said.
Macron received 58.54% of the vote in Sunday’s second-round runoff, beating Le Pen by 41.46%. But his national rally rival “nevertheless won more than 13 million votes in an all-time high for her anti-immigrant party,” she wrote The guard‘s Paris correspondent Angelique Chrisafis.
“Before the reservations,” he said BBC‘s correspondent Hugh Schofield: “It’s just appropriate to acknowledge the magnitude of Macron’s achievement.” The election marks “the first time ever that a reigning President of the Fifth Republic has been re-elected.”
And while previous presidents “have kept the Elysée before,” Macron is the first in modern times to win a second term since Jacques Chirac was re-elected to the top post in 2002. “Which, when you consider France’s long-standing relationship with the government — which essentially consists of cheering it on and then kicking it out at the first opportunity — is no easy feat,” Schofield continued.
The result of yesterday’s vote there is “millions of middle-type French people who believe that Macron wasn’t a bad president at all.” But Le Pen’s voice record also shows that “the people of France are now ready to frolic with the ‘extremes,'” Schofield added.
The victorious leader of the centrist Le Marche! The party (On the March!) has called for unity, urging its supporters to be kind and respectful of Le Pen voters amid the clear “division” in French society.
But despite that plea, the vote sparked violence in cities across France. Police used tear gas to disperse rallies in Paris, Lyon and Rennes after “several hundred protesters from ultra-left groups took to the streets” to protest “Macron’s re-election and Le Pen’s score,” said The Guardian’s Chrisafis.
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“Hours after the election victory, there was a heavy police presence in central Paris after police opened fire on a car, killing two people inside,” she said. It was unclear whether the incident was related to the election.
Macron is expected to “take a more cautious line” after his second win, he said The TelegraphCorrespondent Henry Samuel. The centrist politician presides over a country “shaken by successive Yellow Vest revolts, Covid lockdowns and the war in Ukraine.”
He faces more challenges as he heads into his second term, including maintaining the ‘Franco-German engine’ that drives the EU; Tackling “rising cost of living”; overseeing his “controversial” pension reform; and fulfilling a pledge to promote “participatory democracy” made during the Yellow Vests protests.
Le Pen’s ‘strong showing’ could mean ‘trouble’ for the pressured President Politically said and will serve as a “warning shot for NATO and the European Union“.
Even “in one of the founding countries of the EU,” Macron’s efforts couldn’t stop millions from voting for a figure “whose campaign platform advocates dissolving the EU from within by suspending its travel rules and downplaying the supremacy of EU law.”
“The most immediate challenge” for Macron, the site said, is to lead a “deeply divided country where political anger could easily spill over into street protests and violence.”
Anyway, said Sky newsFor International Affairs Editor-in-Chief Dominic Waghorn, Macron’s election victory will have caused “sighs of relief across Europe”.
While his “defeat would have resulted in a seismic shift in world affairs,” Waghorn continued, “his historic second term means the status quo of the past five years persists,” with France and Germany as the “backbone of Europe” and Macron his “premier… Role leading Europe diplomatically’.
However, “the grievances exposed by Le Pen’s vote count may force him to focus his energies more on domestic issues while trying to heal the deep divisions exposed during this campaign.”
The result of the election marked “a personal victory for Macron, who has only run twice in his life: each time for the presidency, and each time successfully.” The economist called. “But it also contains warnings.”
He “has now twice kept the forces of populism out of France’s highest office,” an achievement for which “history will judge him well.” But “the second-term president now has his job cut out if he is to renew the appeal of liberal politics and reverse the ever-growing success of the extremes,” the newspaper added.
Macron “will undoubtedly start this second term promising a new kind of government,” said the BBC’s Schofield. “He will be more of a listener. He knows there are wounds that need to heal.”
But another key issue Macron faces is that “he’s said something like this before and a lot of people just don’t believe him.”
The President’s European allies may also be “concerned by the deep-seated anger and division being revealed by this election, and by the steadily improving situation of the far-right in France,” Sky News’ Waghorn said.
So now, if Macron needs to spend “less time on the world stage and more time healing his country’s domestic politics,” they will surely “not begrudge him his absence.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/europe/956533/can-emmanuel-macron-unite-divided-france Can Emmanuel Macron unite a divided France?