Macron’s re-election a ‘bittersweet’ victory in a fractured France

“At a critical time for Europe, as fighting rages in Ukraine after the Russian invasion, France has rejected a candidate hostile to NATO, the European Union, the United States, and its fundamental values, by virtue of which no French citizen should be discriminated against because he is a Muslim”. After Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the presidential election on Sunday evening, the New York Times at least found a reason to rejoice.

But the Courier from Geneva underlined another reality of the election: the historically high score of Marine Le Pen – 41.45% of the vote, against 58.55% for the outgoing president – ​​indicates that “the foil of the extreme right works less well. The racist aroma tickles the taste buds more and more widely”.

The double face of this victory “bitter tasting” is well summed up by The evening. « It’s a clear victory, and ‘at the same time’, to use Emmanuel Macron’s favorite formula, a kind of defeat »writes the Brussels daily. Because between abstention « record » and the far-right candidate’s score, “His renewal for five years is anything but a plebiscite” and “triumphalism cannot be appropriate”.

In his editorial, El País also notices that the victory was won by Macron “with much less direct support than in 2017” and that there can be no “reason for celebration, neither for him nor for his supporters”.

“The goal of stitching together fractured France should be a priority”estimates the Madrid daily, for whom Emmanuel Macron’s main challenge for this new five-year term will be to prevent France from falling, in five years, “in the hands of extremes. It is on this that his posterity will be judged. For France and for Europe”.

wounds to heal

The task will not be easy, according to the BBCbecause the election has shown that “more and more French people are now ready to flirt with the extremes. And they do it because by the very success of the Macronian revolution [qui a dynamité les partis traditionnels]it’s the only place they can go if they want to oppose him”.

“Emmanuel Macron will undoubtedly begin this new mandate by promising a new type of government”adds the British broadcaster. “He will listen more. He knows there are wounds to heal. The problem is, he’s said all of this before, and a lot of people don’t believe him anymore.”.

An opinion shared by the Guardianwho observes that “even if he was re-elected, about two thirds of the electorate do not like Macron very much”. The outgoing president acknowledged after his victory that one of his priorities would be to “re-establish ties with those who stayed at home or who gave him their voice only to block Le Pen. He promised to listen and consult more. He will have no other choice”.

Emmanuel Macron will have to “invent a new way of doing politics, less arrogant”adds El Mundo. It’s for the right-wing Spanish title the only way “to prevent discontent from increasing further and continuing to fuel the rise of the far right”.

The Free Belgium “breathe” she too after the elimination of Marine Le Pen, but like the majority of her colleagues, she underlines the extent of the task which awaits the president, from the legislative elections next June.

Leader of Europe

In front of the “recomposition of the political landscape on the ruins of traditional parties, will Emmanuel Macron save his majority in a deeply divided France? ”asks the Belgian daily. “He will have no choice but to reach out, build a unifying project, confirm his ecological shift and allay the concerns of center-left voters”.

Internationally, on the other hand, Emmanuel Macron could find reasons for satisfaction, analyzes the washington post : “the result confirms his role as the de facto leader of the European Union, now that Angela Merkel is gone and her successor is overwhelmed by the problems related to the war in Ukraine”.

“Macron will have five more years to imprint his mark on the European Union” and give it a more French color, “relaxing the strict fiscal rules imposed by Germany when its grip [sur l’UE] was stronger”explains the American daily.

The Atlantic even suggests that Europe could give Emmanuel Macron his stripes of « big man ». “Of course, it is too early to determine whether Macron will succeed or fail in his mission to reform France and reinvigorate Europe. […]. Nevertheless, at present, there is every chance that Macron will become the defining European figure of our time, eclipsing even Merkel, whose legacy is crumbling before our eyes”writes the magazine.

And to conclude, paraphrasing the words of Churchill on General de Gaulle: “the French president is not as smart as he thinks. He is selfish ; he is arrogant; he believes he is the center of the world. And yet, he could well become a great man”.

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