French far-right Fascist Marine Le Pen won more than 13 million votes in a historic high for her anti-immigration party, but that was not enough to topple the incumbent, pro-European neoliberal centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron, leading the centrist party “En Marche!” (The Republic On The Move), vowed to unite a divided France after winning a second term as French president in a decisive three-to-two victory against Le Pen.
Macron is the first French leader to win re-election for 20 years, scoring a clear margin of 59% to 41%, with almost 95% of the votes counted on Sunday night.
Addressing a victory rally at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, where his supporters waved French and European flags, Macron vowed to respond “efficiently” to the “anger and disagreement” of voters who chose the far right.
While Macron was always the favorite to win this race, the Russian invasion of Ukraine for many highlighted the need for Western unity in the face of aggression from a belligerent who seeks to undermine it.
Macron’s victory is a huge relief to France’s most prominent allies — most notably in Brussels, home of the European Union and NATO.
His opponent, the youngest daughter of former party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, finished second in the first round of voting with 21.3% of the ballots and faced Macron, who solidly defeated her in the second round.
Legislative elections in France are scheduled to be held in June, to elect the 577 members of the 16th National Assembly of the French Fifth Republic.
Le Pen’s National Rally is an anti-immigration party, advocating the protection of French identity and opposing the European Union (EU). It also supports French economic interventionism and protectionism, as well as a zero-tolerance approach towards law and order, which is often used to validate injustices toward the poor and minority groups.
Macron’s party accepts globalization and wants to “modernize and moralize” French politics, by combining social and economic liberalism.
Other left-wing parties in France recognize the interdependence of people, their environment, and collective institutions.