For people who are unsure on how french politics play out I’m going to try my hardest to explain everything that could be hard to grasp about the electoral system itself, my opinion on the candidates and what the repercussions could be on a victory for Le Pen. Just to make it clear I am not a political analyst, nor a political commentator (yet), a pollster or an expert in European elections, I am just a second year politics student in Australian with a vested interest in the matter who has a basic grasp of knowledge on the upcoming election.
So firstly, the presidential election is playing out as two separate votes, the first was in April and the second one is occurring as I type. The first vote is a simple ‘first past the post’ vote where you tick whoever you want to be the president, with all the candidates on the ballot, you only vote for one person. If this doesn’t result in a clear majority winner, ie if someone doesn’t get more than 50% of the vote (which is common), then a second election is run between the two candidates with the highest result a few weeks later with the campaigns continuing. This too is done in the style of ‘first past the post’. After the first vote in April, there wasn’t a majority winner so right now the French people are voting again and choosing between Macron and Le Pen. I actually quite like this electoral system for choosing a Head of State because it eliminates the possibility for preference deals making your vote end up not where you wanted it and by ensuring you win on a genuine majority it gives more validation to your mandate to rule. If Australia becomes a republic with an elected Head of State I would support this model for electoral reform.
As I said, the two candidates left are Macron and Le Pen. Macron is from the Party EM or En Marche!, which is advertised as a centrist party, but Macron’s history in socialist movements has steered it to being considered a centre left party, progressive and uniting both left and right ideologies. To put it in Anglo-Saxon terms, the Party is akin to Tony Blair’s New Labour in the 90s and 2000s. Le Pen was the leader of the National Front, a right wing party which is protectionist and inward looking. The easiest way to describe it is by it’s policies, they are against the EU, the Eurozone, free migration and for strict law and order punishment. NF have been subject to many a controversy mainly due to Le Pen’s father and former Party leader, Jean-Marie, who was famously ejected from the Party in 2015 after making anti-semitic comments about Nazi gas chambers. In order to focus on the election, but really just to disassociate herself with the Party’s bad imagine to get more votes, Le Pen has temporarily stepped down as leader and is campaigning as if she’s an independent. I do not support Le Pen, I do not support NF, I care about the EU, about international relations and non-racist sentiments. I am a political moderate and I support Macron. Macron is currently ahead in the polls but in the wake of Trump phenomena and the high profile terror attacks on France, Le Pen is holding a fighting chance.
If Le Pen wins, I believe this will spark the end of the EU and it’s benefits such as free migration and trade. The Eurozone will collapse with no more stable countries and the Euro will inflate causing an economic panic. On top of this, the disdain between the countries of Europe will grow considering they are no longer in an economic alliance. This European abandonment that began with Brexit may well continue through mainland Europe and one day we’ll probably be writing books about how it was that moment in 2016 which began the road to the the third Great War in Europe.
I hope this has cleared the air for some Australian’s who didn’t even know their was a crucial French election happening right now and how the result could affect the world. Please research this further for yourself because society is globalised and nothing is better than education.
Vive la France!