Recently, the first round of the French elections occurred and, whilst it might have been expected for an outright winner to be announced in the aftermath of these votes, ultimately it was deemed a runoff election would be necessary to determine the next President of France. Emmanuel Macron, leader of the En Marche! party, led the original poll, amassing 24.01% of the votes, and this, coupled with his projected attainment of 60% of the votes in the second, and final, round, seems to have enabled him to be deemed the favourite. Yet, his opponent, Marine Le Pen, of the National Front, may also have been placed in good stead, with her focus on immigration and the EU seemingly appealing throughout the country, allowing her to boast over a fifth of the overall votes.
Emmanuel Macron seems to be superiorly placed to win this election, both due to his aforementioned lead in the polls and his policies, which seem to have resonated with the majority of France. As incumbent President Francois Hollande opted to step aside prior to the electoral process, it ultimately guaranteed France a new leader, who possessed fresh, innovative ideas to drive the country forward; Macron seemed to capitalise on this, as in noting Hollande’s 4% approval rating, he may be aiming to pronounce contrasting ideologies in order to boast a superior rating to his potential predecessor. His desire for reform in both border control and secularism, seemingly summarised by the broad title of liberalism, may be the significant contributing factor in him becoming President in his maiden voyage.
Whilst Macron seems to be in pole position, his rival Le Pen also seems to have showcased her abilities as a politician, with her capitalisation of the recent wave of nationalism sweeping across the globe ultimately contributing to her position. Her political nouse seemed to be highlighted prior to the electoral process, where, upon the realisation her party needed to attain a vast increase of votes, she relaxed political positions surrounding same-sex partnerships, abortion and crime in an attempt to appeal to a wider berth. This seems to be proving dividends, as it is the first time since 2002 a National Front candidate continued to the second round, which may suggest French citizens are striving to drive France in a fresh direction with a leader from a new party, aiming to make their voices heard.
Whilst both parties therefore seem to have a prosperous future in France, as both have already achieved a vast degree of support, the polls suggest Macron may win by a large margin. Yet, this may be a situation which Le Pen relishes, as she seems to have already surpassed her goals with her billing as an underdog, and in reaching the runoff may be further motivated by her position and strive to showcase her innovation in order to elevate herself. Contrastingly, it may be insightful to explore who the other candidates endorse in the runoff, and in this area, Macron leads again, with both Fillon and Hamon endorsing him. This may be of increased importance as, whilst the polls may be used by Macron as a reference point, which proves the success of his policies, the endorsement from others may result in their respective followers giving him their support.
With the election date forthcoming, it seems Macron may ultimately be the favourite to succeed Hollande, yet with both candidates having entered these final stages ahead of multiple representatives, including Benoit Hamon from the current power party PS, both their qualities, including gravitas and speaking prowess, seem to have been proven. With Macron possessing two MP’s, and Le Pen none, a victory for either party may also motivate their colleagues to enhance their quest and gain a seat in the legislative elections, enabling the prospective President to have the power and influence to push through their proposals, and respect the will of the people. It may be this population power, which has ultimately increased their importance, as in a time of potential economic change, their votes may influence all aspects of France’s future, and provide stability whilst enhancing their welfare.
How may both politicians utilise their policies in order to propel them to victory?