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France - Presidential Election

Emmanuel Macron is the new President of the French Republic

Emmanuel Macron is the new President of the French Republic

09/05/2017 - Results - 2nd round

Emmanuel Macron (En marche, EM) won the second round of the French presidential election by a wide margin on 7th May. The former Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs (2014-2016) won 66.10% of the vote; his rival Marine Le Pen (Front national, FN), won 33.90%. In the first round of the election on 23rd April the En Marche candidate won 24.01% of the vote and his rival 21.30%.

The Republican front was therefore effective. The vast majority of the representatives of the two "main" government parties - the Republicans (LR) and the Socialist Party (PS) - called to vote in support of Emmanuel Macron, likewise the outgoing head of State François Hollande (PS) on 24th April.
However, Jean-Luc Mélenchon (France insoumise) chose not to indicate how to vote in the second round. On 2nd May his movement published the results of the consultation of his supporters regarding the choice they were to make in the 2nd round. Most of them (36.12%) said they would vote blank or void, 34.83% would vote for Emmanuel Macron and 29.05% said they would choose abstention.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout la France, DLF), who won 4.70% of the vote in the first round was the only one to rally to the Front National candidate between rounds. Marine Le Pen promised to offer the leader of Debout la France the position of Prime Minister if she won on 7th May.
The post electoral polls show however that few of Dupont-Aignan's voters followed his voting indications in support of the Front National on 7th May: 30%, according to Ipsos and 39%, according to Harris. According to the latter Marine Le Pen also received the support of 21% of François Fillon's voters (LR) and 11% of those who had voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. These figures were respectively 20% and 7% according to Ipsos.
For the latter 43% of Emmanuel Macron's voters said they voted for him firstly to block Marine Le Pen, 33% for the renewal that he represents, 16% for his programme and 8% for his personality.

Turnout was the vital issue at stake in the second round of the election. It rose to 74.56%, i.e. the lowest rate ever recorded since the second round of the presidential election of 2002. We might note that it was also below that of the first round of 23rd April last (77.77%), a first since 1969. Finally, a record number of voters (8.56%) chose to vote blank or void on 7th May.

"I know that the divisions of our nation have led to some voting for an extreme; I know of the anger, the doubt, the fear that some have expressed. I shall fight against the divisions that are undermining our society," declared Emmanuel Macron after the results were announced. The new president of the Republic maintained that he wanted to "rally and reconcile" over the next five years.
For her part, Marine Le Pen quickly acknowledged her defeat. She immediately positioned herself as the leader of the opposition against the new head of State. She also announced that the Front National would undergo "deep transformation" in the weeks to come.

Emmanuel Macron, whose talent is undeniable, was extremely fortunate during the entire campaign. Indeed the primary elections led - on the right, which believed the presidential election to have been won already, likewise on the left, which believed it unwinnable - to the victory of the radicals. Following this the scandals in which François Fillon was involved, then the indictment of the former Prime Minster for the embezzlement of public funds, complicity and concealment of the embezzlement of public funds, complicity and concealment of the abuse of social goods and breach of reporting requirements, a first under the V Republic, made the campaign of the Republican candidate inaudible and allowed a wide margin to be won by the representative of En Marche. Finally the relinquishment of the outgoing head of State François Hollande (PS) to stand in the election on 1st December last allowed him to enter the stage.

The first president of the Republic since Charles de Gaulle (1958-1969) to come from a movement formed around his personality rather than a political party, Emmanuel Macron now has to achieve a majority in the general elections that will take place on 11th and 18th June next. En Marche will put forward candidates in all constituencies, 70% of them will be from civil society.
"We have an enormous task before us and we have to build a true majority, one that is strong right away," stressed the new Head of State after his victory. Although Emmanuel Macron was elected by a wide margin as President of the Republic, the French do not seem prepared however to grant him an absolute majority in the National Assembly, if we are to believe the opinion polls: according to Ipsos 61% of them do not want this, 39% support it. However his movement would come out ahead according to the polls. Kantar SOFRES forecasts it with 24% ahead of the LR-UDI 22%, the FN 21%, France insoumise 15% and the PS 9%; Harris credits it with 26% ahead of the LR and the FN standing equal with 22%, France insoumise 13% and the PS 8%.

The reform of the Labour Code, the moralisation of public life, the simplification of business life, the reform of the primary school, not forgetting new Franco-German impetus for Europe (before the summer and the German electoral campaign in view of the general elections on 24th September next) are the first areas on which the new president of the Republic will have to concentrate.

Aged 39, Emmanuel Macron holds a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Paris X (Nanterre). He is also a graduate of Sciences Po and the National School of Administration (ENA). In 2004 he became a finance inspector before joining the business bank Rothschild & Co four years later. In 2012, he was appointed Deputy Secretary General under François Hollande, before becoming Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014 in the new government led by Manuel Valls (PS), a post from which he resigned on August 30th last year.
A member of the Socialist Party between 2006 and 2009 Emmanuel Macron founded En Marche on April 6th 2016, a movement that he defines as being neither on the left or the right. Never previously elected, he announced on 16th November last that he was standing for the French vote in the presidential election.

In three years, Emmanuel Macron has therefore achieved what each of his predecessors have been seeking for decades: the acquisition of the status of potential president and to win the most important election in French political life. On 14th May he will take over from François Hollande at the Elysée and will become the youngest head of State in France's history.

Finally, we shall note that the French have chosen the most European of all of the candidates, also the young president elect celebrated his victory with his supporters to the sound of the European anthem, "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven.
Many European leaders were delighted with his election. "I am happy that the French have chosen a European future," said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker (European People's Party, EPP). The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk (EPP) said that "France has always played a central role in the construction and development of the European Union and I am convinced that under your presidency France will continue to make a constructive contribution so that we can rise to our joint challenges and maintain our unity."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the first "to warmly congratulate" Emmanuel Macron who is to make his first foreign trip one to Germany. Ms Merkel welcomed "a victory for a strong, united Europe and for Franco-German friendship." British Prime Minister Theresa May also congratulated him: "France is one of our closest allies and we are impatient to work with the new president in a great number of common priority areas."
This impatience was also shown by American president Donald Trump, who will meet the new French President very quickly given the international agenda that brings a NATO summit in Brussels on 25th May, a G7 Summit on 26th and 27th May in Italy and a G20 Summit on 7th and 8th July in Hamburg.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The author
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
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