Emmanuel Macron, the new French president to bring a fresh air of optimism and relief

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President-elect Emmanuel Macron imposed himself as the symbol of renewal, hope, unity, and resistance against extremism. The sign reads, “Together, France!” (courtesy of 20minutes.fr)

 

-Article by Alice Ferré

Emmanuel Macron, leader of the centrist party “En Marche!” was elected the new president of France this Sunday. He ousted Marine Le Pen of the National Front out of the race with a score of 65,8%. Le Pen scored 34,2%.
The participation rate amounted to 74,7% according to the French polling institute Ipsos-Sopra Steria, meaning that 25,3%, or 12 million people, did not vote. 4,2 million people left their ballots blank. It is the highest abstention rate for a second presidential tour since 1969.

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Vote participation at the presidential second tour over the years from 1965 to 2017 (courtesy of LeMonde.fr)

‘The lost credibility and legitimacy of the main political parties’

During her defeat speech, Le Pen announced that she had congratulated Macron for his victory and wished him luck to fight against “the immense challenge that France is facing.” She thanked the 11 million voters and the royalist François Dupont-Aignan from the political party La France Debout that “trusted and supported” her over the past months of campaigning for “their courageous and founding choice.”

“With such a historical and massive result for the National Front, the people designated us as the only legitimate patriotic and republican force of opposition. Those who took the responsibility to elect Mr. Macron lost their credibility and legitimacy to represent an alternative political force.”

Le Pen also pointed out that this election signed off “the decomposition of the French political scene through the elimination of the two main parties, Les Républicains and the Socialist Party, and thus reorganized the division between patriots and globalists.

She called her supporters to prepare for the legislative elections of the French Assembly on June, 11. “For those who want to choose France, defend her independence, liberty, prosperity, security, identity, and social model. For those who are worried about the next five years.”

‘Renewal of faith and strength’

President-elect Macron also thanked his voters for their trust and expressed his “profound gratefulness.”

“Nothing was written, so I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your votes and support. I will invest all my energy in being worthy of your trust.”

He also addressed the National Front and France Insoumise voters. “To all citizens, difficulties have weakened us for a long time now. I would thus like to salute all of you and respect those of you who voted for the extremes and those who doubt. I respect you.”

“I want to ensure our nation’s unity because behind each one of my words, there are men, women, children, and families. Tonight, I am talking to you. The people of France have duties to their country: we are the heirs of a grand story and humanist message. We have to transmit this story, this message, and those values to our children and carry them towards the future to give them a new lifeblood.”

“I will defend France’s interests and image; I hold this commitment before you. I will reforge the links between Europe and the peoples that form it.
I also address to all nations in the world a fraternal, peaceful, and respectful salute from France…from a France who respects its commitments towards the fight against terrorism and climate change.”

“Tonight is the night of a new page of a long story: the story of renewed hope and faith, democratic vitality, and pluralism. I will endorse the responsibility to appease the fears, rebuild the optimism, and gather the French to fight the great upcoming challenges.”

“Let us love France from tonight and for the five next years. I will, with humility and devotion, serve this country on your behalf. Vive la République et vive la France.”

Unlike in the United States, the president-elect will hold office a week after he got elected, on May, 14. Choices for prime minister and its newly formed government will also be unveiled mid-May.

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Spotted: France’s far-right leader visits Trump Tower

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Marine Le Pen at the Trump Bar – by Sam Levine

-Article by Alice Ferré

On Thursday, Marine Le Pen, French National Front (NF) leader, was spotted at the Trump Tower, causing rumors to swirl of a possible meeting with Mr. Trump, which a plausible supposition owing to ideological similarities between the two parties.

However, Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied the existence of any scheduled meetings with the French politician. He added that the Trump bar, where Le Pen was seen having coffee, is a public space and thus accessible to everyone.

Marine Le Pen, nevertheless, met with Trump’s longtime friend and neighbor, George Lombardi – a man with many connections with the European far-right elite, who introduces himself as a political analyst. He formerly represented the Italian Northern League, is now close to the Tea Party and leads the U.S. branch of the French National Front. Mr. Lombardi also lives three stories below Trump.

Not only Trump’s neighbor, Lombardi is also his auto-proclaimed, non-official advisor and fervent supporter; an interesting middle-man and asset for Le Pen, who seems to admire and envy the success of the populist vote in the U.S.

Trump’s victory seems to be a sign of hope for European anti-establishment,  as Le Pen tweeted in celebration for Trump in November, indicating the NF’s confidence of the elections’ outcome.

Lombardi announced he will organize a private party for Mrs. Le Pen with “entrepreneurs, businessmen, and a couple of people from the United Nations.” All are French and supporters of Le Pen’s convictions.

Lombardi described Le Pen’s populist message as similar to Trump’s by its “resonance with the working class, left or right, fed up with the elitist, globalist politicians that are not doing anything for their own people.” He then added: “they are looking for someone, a new voice.”

After some networking in New York, Mrs. Le Pen will fly back to Lyon, France, where she will officially launch her presidential campaign, on February 4th. According to the latest opinion polls, she remains the favorite candidate.