Macron’s Pyrrhic French election victory

This 29 March 2017 French video, with English subtitles, about leftist French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, says about itself:


Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

It’s a dark spot on Emmanuel Macron‘s big victory: the low turnout in the second round of the French presidential election. Just over a quarter of all voters stayed at home and that happened last in 1969.

Additionally, 4.2 million French, of the 47 million voters, voted blank. A clear protest of people who think the social-liberal [rather: pro-Big Business neoliberal, or neoconservative] Macron (of the En Marche! party) and the right-populist [racists like Le Pen should not be called ‘populists’] Marine Le Pen (Front National) are both terrible.

The remarkable statistics speak for themselves, says correspondent Frank Renout. “If you were to count the blank voters and absentees, then Macron gets just 43% of all votes,” he says. Quite different from the 66 percent that the future president achieved at the official results.

In addition, more than four out of ten Macron voters chose purely for him to prevent Le Pen from becoming president, as emerges from a survey of polling places by Ipsos research organisation.

These are all indicators of the big dissatisfaction in France. People are disgusted with politics and the quivering economy. The traditional parties ([President Hollande’s] socialists, conservatives) were trounced in the first round of the elections in late April. …

En Marche! – the movement was established a year ago – has no seat in parliament yet. Macron has to get at least 280 for a majority in next month’s parliamentary elections. …

But first, Macron will become president. He will be inaugurated on Sunday.

This video from France says about itself:

27 April 2017

High school students in Paris used bins and metal parts to barricade the entrance of their school early Thursday morning, in protest at the choice of final candidates in the upcoming presidential elections.

Protesters sprayed graffiti messages against both presidential candidates – Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. Student Marie explained the discontent: “The results of the first round don’t suit us. We want neither Macron nor Le Pen.”

By Alex Lantier in France:

Macron wins French presidency

8 May 2017

Emmanuel Macron, the former Rothschild banker and economy minister of France’s outgoing Socialist Party (PS) government, was elected president on Sunday. He received 65 percent of the vote against Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the neo-fascist National Front (FN).

Both candidates were deeply unpopular. Abstention in Sunday’s second-round run-off election reached 26 percent, the highest in a French presidential election since 1969. Fully 12 percent of voters, a record 4.2 million people, cast blank or spoiled ballots to express their hostility to both candidates presented by the French political establishment. Thirty-four percent of voters aged 18 to 24, 32 percent of voters aged 25 to 34, 35 percent of the unemployed, and 32 percent of manual workers abstained.

Macron voters overwhelmingly selected their candidate not on the basis of support for his program of austerity, militarism and law-and-order policies, but in order to keep the FN out of power. One Ipsos poll found that 61 percent of the French people so mistrust Macron’s agenda of social cuts and war that they do not want him to have a majority in the National Assembly after the upcoming legislative elections in June.

As for the FN, its broad unpopularity was underscored by the fact that the combined number of voters who abstained or cast a blank or spoiled ballot was larger than the number of people who voted for Le Pen.

Nonetheless, in a brief and perfunctory victory speech, Macron appealed to Le Pen’s party and to her voters, ignoring the vast majority of the French electorate that had supported him or abstained. Macron addressed a “Republican salute” to Le Pen, promising to pay attention to the “anger, anxiety and doubts” that had driven millions of people to cast ballots for the neo-fascist candidate.

Macron, a supporter of the PS government’s state of emergency, which suspends basic democratic rights, pledged to step up the French state’s law-and-order policies. Making clear that he would build on the vast police and military deployments the PS has ordered since the imposition of the state of emergency two years ago, Macron promised to “ensure in an implacable and resolute manner your security, and the unity of the nation.”

Macron struck a militaristic tone, declaring that he would focus on the “war on terror” and the defense of the European Union, as well as on “morally uplifting our public life.”

This BBC video says about itself:

27 April 2017

France: Election: Teenagers Protest At Candidates Macron And Le Pen

Teenagers in Rennes and other French cities have held rallies or blocked schools in a protest against both presidential candidates.
In a campaign tagged “We deserve better”, about 1,000 people came out in the western city to chant “neither Le Pen nor Macron”.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Following the failure of France Unbowed candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon to get into the second round, some on the left saw neither candidate as worthy of their vote yesterday.

While a victory for Ms Le Pen would lead to a clampdown on immigrants and France’s large Muslim population, Mr Macron, despite posing as a breath of fresh air by launching his non-party En Marche! movement, is a former government minister whose programme of EU-backed spending cuts and attacks on workers’ rights represents a continuation of policies that have impoverished millions of people and fed the rise of far-right nationalism across Europe.

Neither of the two parties which have dominated French politics since the 1980s, the Republicans and the Socialists, are represented in the second round as voters overwhelmingly rejected the status quo in round one.

Mr Mélenchon himself has declined to endorse either “the candidate of the extreme right or the candidate of extreme finance” — Mr Macron is a former investment banker and friend of former Tory chancellor George Osborne — although he has confirmed that he will vote and it will not be for Ms Le Pen.

The French Communist Party, the largest component of France Unbowed, has been more explicit, warning working-class voters who might be tempted by Ms Le Pen’s anti-Establishment rhetoric that a victory for her would mean “disappointment and bitterness tomorrow.”

Party leader Pierre Laurent warned that, just as happened with Donald Trump in the United States, pro-worker slogans would give way to “measures that primarily benefit shareholders.”

He has called on the French people to vote for Mr Macron to stop Le Pen, while adding that he expects “nothing” good to come of a Macron presidency and vowing to step up the fight against neoliberal policies in the national assembly and beyond.

Macron election propaganda, now garbage, NOS photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘It’s better than Le Pen, but I don’t trust him’

Today, 11:09

Stacks of trash bags and a container of rubbish pollute the view of the Palais du Louvre in Paris. In the drizzly rain a group of cleaners works hard to clean up the square after the Emmanuel Macron victory party.

“Fortunately, it’s not nice wather,” laughs one of the cleaners, Zammouri. “Otherwise, the people would have been here until the early hours to celebrate and we would have been busy for longer.”

He throws his trolley full of flattened Macron posters and European Union flags. “At six o’clock we started and that was necessary, it was everywhere!” …

Between the front pages full of Macron portraits, the newspaper saleswoman rolls her eyes. … “People think he will bring renewal because of his age, but I think everything will stay the same.” … She voted blank, like many other French, in protest. …

In the cafés in the fourth district people are at their breakfast. An older couple at the bar reads the newspaper while shaking their heads. “It’s better than Le Pen, but I don’t trust him.” …

“Did I celebrate yesterday? No, why should I!” asks Gilles, looking upset.

On the very day of the presidential election, 69 activists – including Alain Pojolat, leading member of the NPA, Palestinian solidarity and anti-fascist activist – have been banned from certain districts of Paris, thus preventing them from participating in the first demonstration against the announced anti-worker policies of newly-elected president Emmanuel Macron: here.

Le Pen Family Feud Deteriorates Into Night of Long Knives After Crushing Loss in French Election. Father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, banished by his daughter, calls election result her ‘disgraceful failure’: here.

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