Presidential election 2022: the "phew" of cautious relief from the foreign press after the re-election of Emmanuel Macron

Presidential election 2022: the “phew” of cautious relief from the foreign press after the re-election of Emmanuel Macron

The Western press is in tune the day after the second round of the French presidential election. “The word that sums up the result of the French presidential election is: ‘phew'”written at the outset Die Welt, one of the three largest daily newspapers in Germany, France’s leading partner in Europe. Emmanuel Macron was re-elected President of the Republic, Sunday April 24, with 58.54% of the vote against the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen (41.46%). A result that certainly leaves the European and American media “relieved, but not delighted”, nuance the weekly from across the Rhine Der Spiegel.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers For Macron, an evening of victory without triumph, marked by the historic score of the far right and the fear of a third political and social round

Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the middle of the war in Ukraine proves “decisive”, note several foreign press titles. Many write that the election of Marine Le Pen – “a candidate hostile to NATO, to the European Union [UE]the United States and fundamental values” of France, in the words of the New York Times – would have been a conflagration well beyond the French borders.

The victory of the outgoing president “offers continuity for France and five more years of political stability for the European Union at twenty-seven”shaken by the rise of populism, Brexit in 2016, migration crises and the war in Ukraine, which has now lasted for more than two months, estimates the washington post.

“We heard France’s allies in Europe and at NATO breathe a sigh of relief” after Emmanuel Macron’s victory, also writes the FinancialTimesfor whom the re-election of the Head of State guarantees, for the next five years, “France’s status as a pillar of the EU and an important contributor to NATO in its support for Ukraine against Russia”.

“If Le Pen had won, it would have been Putin’s most resounding victory, without any bloodshed. The EU would be wiped out, Germany deprived of its main partner, nuclear weapons in the hands of a pro-Putin nationalist”considers on his side Der Spiegel.

The German magazine recalls, like several other press titles, the links of the far-right candidate and her party, the National Rally (RN), with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. “Europe now has an undisputed leader in the person of Macron”continues the Spiegeljoining the analysis of washington post on the balance of power within the EU.

Read also: What are Marine Le Pen’s links with Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

“No reason to rejoice”

Added to this, underlines the foreign press, the character “historical” of this election which results in that, for the first time under the Vand Republic, the outgoing president either “reappointed for a second presidential term (…), without having experienced a cohabitation”relieves The weather.

According to the Swiss daily, “the current tenant of the Elysée cannot, however, be satisfied with his excellent score of 58% without looking at the country as it is” : “more polarized than ever”. Because victory has a ” bitter taste “in the words of the Brussels daily The evening and is also a “sort of defeat”. For the foreign press, it is indeed the image of a deeply divided country which emerges from the French presidential election, marked, underlines the washington postby record abstention since 1969 and by “the best result of the far right in a French presidential election”.

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This score, according to the Spanish newspaper El Paísdoes not give “no reason to rejoice” and should serve as a warning. The “majority in the second round does not mean a vote of support for [Emmanuel Macron] and its program, but above all a rejection of the extreme right “considers the major Madrid daily in its editorial of the day, which calls for “reuniting a fractured France”.

“In the next five years, [Emmanuel Macron] will lead a country in which almost half of the voters support a policy that would lead France to leave the EU, and modify the Constitution by referendum to create discrimination between French-born and foreigners, and in which the anti-system protest vote , if we take into account the votes of the populist left, is well over 50%. »

For the BBC, this rise of the two “extreme”, left and right, is the result of the recomposition of the political landscape desired by Emmanuel Macron. Five years ago, his victory caused the collapse of the two historic parties that structured French politics around two currents: the socialist left and the republican right. Voters who today turn to the extremes “do it because – due to the success of the Macron revolution – they have nowhere to go if they want to oppose him”notes the BBC.

“Avoid playing Russian roulette with the future of Europe”

In the immediate future, this deep political division leaves uncertainty hanging over the start of the mandate and the next French election: the legislative elections, which will take place on June 12 and 19. The weather thus predicts that France will quickly become “a political battleground”.

“Dreams of radical change in 2017 have been replaced by fears of a political confrontation in the heart of the summer”writes, for his part, the New York Times. For the American daily, the re-election of Emmanuel Macron is the result of “his effective handling of the Covid-19 crisis, his reviving of the economy and his political skill to occupy the full center of the political spectrum”. But the “political capital” of the Head of State is nevertheless “more limited” that five years ago and ” the version “ against him is revealed “deep” among his opponents. the FinancialTimes abounds, believing that “Macron’s second term could be even more tumultuous than the first” while the re-elected president “Risk of losing its parliamentary majority”.

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More broadly, the threat of seeing France elect a “nationalist and eurosceptic force” is not far off, consider Politico Europe. “A far-right populist won an unprecedented percentage of votes. There is no reason to believe that, next time, this score could not be higher”warns the weekly, for whom, in 2027, “a better candidate than Le Pen (…) could ride the wave of popular anger [qui s’est exprimée dimanche] until victory is achieved”. It is thus necessary, the article continues, “to reflect on how France – co-founder and indispensable pillar of the European Union – can avoid playing Russian roulette with the future of Europe every five years”.

Politico thus calls for a reflection on the institutional, political and electoral functioning in a country in which the president is ” too powerful “ and the role of Parliament is reduced to that of a “registration room” as long as the Head of State is supported by a majority.

“A possible anti-European populist victory in France is not inevitable. But the country needs to find a better way to give its citizens more political choices. It can’t go on like this”decides the media, located in Brussels.

Also read the analysis: Article reserved for our subscribers Emmanuel Macron, elected clearly but without momentum, will have to take into account this new political deal

El País also reads into Sunday’s results a much deeper risk, which every country should consider, concluding:

“France has sent a signal to democracies. When certain common values ​​disappear, when the representativeness of the parties collapses and when the leaders are unable to speak to the whole country (and especially to listen to it), the democracies risk falling into the hands of the extremes. Preventing this from happening will be Emmanuel Macron’s main task in his second term. This is where his legacy will be played out. »

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