The surge in support for the far right in the French presidential election is a wake-up call for all of us

Emmanuel MacronFrance’s victory in the presidential elections in France is welcome news for the whole of the European Union and therefore also for Ireland. But the huge vote for the far-right contender, Marine LePenmust serve as a wake-up call for politicians everywhere to improve their listening skills and reconnect with the less fortunate citizens.

In his second five-year term, President Macron has promised to govern in the interests of all citizens, and he has already proposed various means to stimulate “an ongoing national debate” on the key issues. We can believe those promises because in some ways his political struggles are only really beginning today.

The French President faces an uphill battle to win the necessary parliamentary majority in the two-round general elections to be held on June 12-19. Macron’s Republic on the Move party, which he only founded in 2017, has a very heterogeneous national organization and is not rooted at all in many regions and places.

There is a grave risk that he will have to rely on hard-left or hard-right parliamentarians to lead a government in Paris. This increases the risk of a chaotic and directionless period known to the French as ‘cohabitation’.

It is important to acknowledge that President Macron did well to win a second term, albeit with a reduced majority. His last five years have been marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, during which he has shown bold leadership and spoken out loud against virus deniers and anti-vaccinationists.

Macron’s presidency also left the French economy in better shape, with strong growth and lower unemployment. He also did much to restore confidence in the European Union and helped persuade his partners in Berlin to undertake bolder projects, such as an initial bloc borrowing on the international money markets to fund post-Covid economic recovery projects .

But the downside of his five years in power is that he has accentuated the divisions and unrest so evident in French society. This allowed Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Rally (NR) party to gain momentum to the point that they can now claim to be the second most popular political movement in France, a country that pioneered the principles of human rights and human rights Equality was also a key founding member of the European Union.

Marine Le Pen reshaped and softened the image of the party founded in 1972 by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen. But the core values ​​remain the same – deep skepticism towards the EU, anti-immigration and priority for French citizens to welfare, work and social services.

This was her third and most successful bid for the French presidency, which wields vast direct executive powers, particularly in foreign affairs. In France, the story of eventual political success is one of perseverance and new beginnings.

A key message for President Macron is that he is perceived as the “president of the rich” and is too distant to listen to the concerns of poorer people. Monsieur Macron and his colleagues everywhere must learn to listen more. The surge in support for the far right in the French presidential election is a wake-up call for all of us

Fry Electronics Team

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