Et Maintenant?

On Sunday, Emmanuel Macron was reelected France’s President with 58.5% of the vote to Marine Le Pen’s 41.5%. By choosing Macron, French voters undoubtedly rejected far-right populism and nationalism. But to say that they overwhelmingly supported Macron’s agenda would be far from the truth.

FGH’s Paris office shares some election night takeaways: 

  • A major victory—with caveats. Sunday’s vote highlights the fatigue of the electorate towards the French democratic and political system. France registered the highest abstention vote in fifty years and the highest result for the far-right in modern history. But Macron’s victory shows the strong aversion to the far-right and the need to contain it continues to hold in France.
  • A divided and anxious country. Macron will be entrusted with implementing major reforms without being able to rely on the unconditional support from the French electorate that voted him in. Entangled in three global crises— climate change, the war in Ukraine and COVID-19—Macron will need to redefine the country’s growth path and social model. Election watchers anticipate four battlefields: 
    • Public spending management and reforming the retirement schemeFostering France’s industrial competitiveness while accelerating the transition to clean energy
    • Boosting French economic attractiveness while ensuring social cohesion, and 
    • Dispelling institutional fatigue.
  • The question of who will actually run the country remains. As soon as the polling stations closed their doors on Sunday, all political forces virtually launched their campaigns for the parliamentary elections in June. Since the five-year presidential term was introduced, French voters have traditionally given the newly elected president an outright majority. But this time could be different, given the large role tactical voting played in the election and Macron’s weakened parliamentary majority. 

Read the full election analysis here.