In spite of conceding defeat to center-right competitor Emmanuel Macron, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen received her biggest ever vote percentage in the French presidential election on Sunday. Macron succeeded by a margin of 17.05 percent, winning him a fifth term as president of France. He is the first incumbent French president to be re-elected in two decades. However, as more than three million voters submitted spoiled or empty ballots, participation was the weakest in a presidential final round since 1969, at little under 72%.
After obtaining upwards of 13 million votes in Sunday’s election, Le Pen declared her huge share of votes a “resounding success” for the National Rally party. Her agenda, which began with tax cuts, swiftly shifted to include a statewide restriction on the Muslim hijab as well as a vote on immigration restrictions. She has been charged with hate speech multiple times, first for equating Muslims worshipping in the public to the Nazi takeover of France, and the other time for publishing gruesome photographs of ISIS.
Macon promised to emerge a president “for all people” and to “properly confront the fury and discontent” of the electorate in his victory message. He stated that some individuals voted for him solely to avoid a rightward electoral shift. European politicians praised his triumph, amid their reservations about Le Pen’s intentions of quitting the EU and pulling out from NATO. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine thanked him as a “genuine friend” and expressed his desire for a robust and unified Europe.
Macron’s governance, though, continues to be tested. In June, France will be conducting parliamentary elections to determine which party would hold the vast bulk of the 577 seats in the national parliament. If a different party wins most of the seats, Macron will be compelled to pick a cabinet that implements measures that are incompatible with his second-term plans. Nevertheless, he would still have control regarding the nation’s policy on international matters.