Cover photo: Centrist Emmanuel Macron 39, (Left)has gone through to the second round of the French election, where he will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen, 48, (Right) on May 7th.
Globalism and nationalism are in open conflict. We saw it in Brexit, triumph of Trump, Turkey gone presidential and cries for exit (in France it is ‘Frexit’ of Le Pen) from globalism to nationalism, heard from many countries in Europe. All prove themselves to be anti-global and pro-national. But the election build up in France so far has been just the opposite – pro global.
The forthcoming final round of election on May 7th, therefore seems to have become the play off on the world stage to prove their comparative strength. All anti-global parties in France have been losing out. Its staunch advocate Le Pen could come only second to Macron, an youngster and upstart. That makes the happenings most confused, most breathtaking and most bizarre.
The modern civilization was launched by French Revolution and its war cry of Unity, Liberty, Equality, Fraterity which produced today’s globalization and international cooperation. It was borne out of the noble vision that humans should grow out of their narrow nationalism to become world citizens for the creation of the whole world as one family of brothers and sisters caring and sharing for each other. Of late, this concept is torn to pieces by some leading nations in the world like US and UK. It is at this juncture that the French elections come as a Himalayan effort to correct the present worldwide regressive trend.
Not few, but eleven candidates are contesting for the president in France. Five of them were counted as front runners. But the two who emerged as possible winners in the first round last Sunday were: Emmanuel Macron 39 a greenhorn or dark horse in politics and Marine Le Pen, a carbon copy of Trump, who tried and failed last time. But all are agreed, it is going to make the epochal political upheaval, not only in France but in Europe and in the whole world destabilized by US and UK.
In politics both are inexperienced. Le Pen is 48 and her party is ‘Front National’ for which her father got 16.9% of French vote in 2002, 15 years ago. In the Sunday election she improved it to 21.53%. For the rest she is a carbon copy of Trump, anti-globalisation, anti-immigration and anti-European Union. Her stress is on ‘my country France first’. For that reason the general public, other French parties and countries in Europe are opposing her. That opposition has grown by leaps and bounds after the Sunday’s election which puts her stay put as a second choice.
One who emerged as the first runner up is Emmanuel Macron 39, said to be youngest French leader after Napoleon. One is here reminded of Jesus who started his public life at 30. Macron was Minister of Economy and Finance under President François Hollande in 2014. He founded his party ‘En Marche!’ (on the march), a liberal, progressive, political movement in Amiens on 6 April 2016. It was a liberal, progressive political movement, for which he was reprimanded by President Hollande. On 30 August 2016, Macron resigned from the government ahead of the 2017 presidential election. On 16 November 2016, Macron formally declared his candidacy for the French presidency after months of speculation. In his announcement speech, Macron called for a "democratic revolution" and promised to "unblock France"
Macron won the first round with 24 percent of the votes against Le Pen’s 21.5 percent. He is just the opposite of Le Pin, a centrist – centre-right and centre-left – and totally for European Union. He insists he is "neither of the Left or the Right" but “for France" Macron made an important distinction between patriotism and nationalism. You can love your country without wanting to be a racist anti-immigrant party.
When he was 16 Macron had an affair with his French teacher, 24 years senior, who also coached him drama. Now Macron is married to Brigitte Trogneux, who was his teacher in La Providence high school in Amiens. They first met when he was a 15-year-old student in her drama class, but were officially a couple only after he turned 18. His parents initially attempted to separate the couple by sending him away to Paris to finish the final year of his schooling, as they felt his youth made this relationship inappropriate, but the couple stayed together after he graduated and eventually were married in 2007. They live with Trogneux's three children from her previous marriage.
What has captured the imagination of the French public is Marcon’s capacity to unite the French public to bring about another democratic revolution as people have lost faith in all traditional parties. Some say, that May 7th election is going to be a cake-walk for him. We can only wish him well for the sake of unity, democracy and globalization. James kottoor, editor.
Please read below the Guardian Editorial
Guardian view on France’s election:
a win for Macron and hope
Editorial in the Guardian, UK, Monday 24 April 2017
In the first round in the race for the Élysée, the postwar parties have been humbled. France has voted for change.
The storming of the Bastille in 1789 sets the bar high. As a result, few phrases should be used with more circumspection than “French revolution”. But the result of the first round of France’s 2017 presidential election is an epochal political upheaval for France all the same. For the first time in the nearly 60-year history of the Fifth Republic the second-round contest on 7 May will be between two outsider candidates, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
Neither of the candidates of the established parties of left and right will be in the runoff. Whichever of the second-round candidates emerges as the winner in two weeks’ time, France is set upon a new political course, with major implications for itself and for the rest of Europe.
The defeat of the established parties is a humiliation for modern French party politics of left and right. The Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon, representing the party of the outgoing president François Hollande, received a mere 6.2% of the votes, according to early estimates. The conservative candidate François Fillon, carrier of the tarnished Gaullist baton, did better, with 19.7%.
Yet this is the first time that an official centre-right candidate has failed to get into the second round since General de Gaulle created modern France in 1958. Given the scandals about his use of public funds, it was remarkable that Mr Fillon did so well. Even so, between them Mr Hamon and Mr Fillon took only a quarter of the votes. Instead three French voters out of four, in a turnout of 78%, voted for change.
Mr Hamon was quick to accept personal responsibility for the Socialist failure. But there are many other causes, not confined to France. What is clear is that radical leftwing French voters preferred Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s cocktail of social reform, higher public spending and hostility to the EU to anything that Mr Hamon, who is on the left of his party, was offering. Mr Mélenchon took three votes to every one for Mr Hamon. There is a historic lesson for the Socialists there which is similar to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain in 2015. The French Socialist party that was put together by François Mitterrand in the 1970s is no more. It will have to go right back to basics to regenerate itself.
Before that, though, France faces an absolutely straight choice. The contest on 7 May is a contest between openness and bigotry, internationalism and nationalism, optimism and hatred, reaction and reform, hope and fear. The fact that Ms Le Pen has reached the second round should not be underplayed simply because it was predicted for so long, or because, if the exit polling is confirmed, she finished second behind Mr Macron, not first. She took almost a quarter of French votes. Her projected 21.9% is significantly larger than her father’s 16.9% in 2002. Even if she loses in round two, the FN may still stand on the verge of a historic advance in June’s parliamentary elections.
It is tempting to see Ms Le Pen’s result as a defeat alongside that of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and to conclude that European liberal values have successfully rallied to stop another lurch to the racist right. Some of that is true, and it is a cause for immense relief. France stood up and was counted on Sunday. But the threat from the French extreme right is not over. Nor is the threat from kindred extreme-right parties in Europe. Both the AfD in Germany and Ukip in Britain have moved further to the right in the past week. The Front National remains a party of bigotry, hatred and nationalism of the worst kind.
Now France must stand up again in two weeks’ time and complete the job by electing Mr Macron. There are only two in this race and French voters should do what they did in 2002 and rally to defeat the FN candidate on 7 May. Already, several on the centre-right have rallied behind Mr Macron. Others should follow, and so should left wing voters too.
Mr Macron is the best hope of a deeply troubled but great country. Its problems range from inequality to unemployment, social divisions, terrorism, and a ruling elite with a strong sense of entitlement. Mr Macron comes from that class, is untested in many ways, is mistrusted on the left, and therefore needs to earn the voters’ trust afresh. He has been lucky in his rivals, on the left and on the right, and he was the first choice of only 23.7% of the voters. But he has been rewarded for the great political audacity of his centrist challenge to the ancien régime. Electing him in May is now the only way to open up the chance of progressive, liberal and pro-European reform in France. French voters have made a bold break with the past. Now they must finish the revolution.