Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Preity Upala
Observer Staff Writer 

The French Elections: The Impossible Presidential Candidate

Emmanuel Macron has the liabilities of Hillary Clinton. Yet only he can save France


Emmanuel Macron, who leads the EnMarche! France! Movement and is often compared to Hillary Clinton as an establishment candidate.

I am referring of course to Emmanuel Macron, one of the contenders for the top job at the French presidential elections.

This election has turned out to be one of the most unpredictable and dynamic in the history of French politics .The entire world is watching and the result will affect the global political sphere.

On the one side we have Marine Le Pen, leader of The Front National, a far right Nationalist party. And the other, independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron, who leads the EnMarche! France! Movement.

The two could not be more different. Le Pen is a Eurosceptic whereas her opponent Macron, a Europhile. One is in favor of Globalization and the EU; the other wants a "France First" approach.

Le Pen has run a hard fought campaign so far, with her main policies being France's withdrawal from the EU, ditching of the Euro currency, stricter borders, taxing foreign workers, halting immigration and establishing border taxes.

She opposes the EU and globalization and proudly calls herself the Anti- Merkel candidate. She has a "France First" agenda and her supporters are fed up with how globalization has affected them personally such as issues of unemployment and financial instability.

It is apparent that a large number of the French millennials vote for Le Pen admitting that "we are the future and this is what we want". However if they took the time to dig a little deeper, perhaps they may uncover racist and bigoted sentimentality to the very party they hope will get them out of the trenches.

When we dig a little deeper, in 2002, her father Jean- Marie Le Pen was in the running for the presidential election and lost to Jacques Chirac in a landslide 80- 20 % result. Since than her father has stepped down from the party, and Le Pen has made considerable efforts to give her party an Image "Face Lift". However she is ultimately her father's daughter. The Front National has its dark past stemming from 1930's Post war Germany. With some of the founding fathers former SS soldiers, it has shared a deep sentiment for Holocaust denial. When Jean Marie made it to the second round in 2002 elections, it was considered a very sad day for French politics. Today, the party almost has a 40% vote and that in itself is a victory considering it used to be a dirty word not that long ago.

Within context, there is nothing wrong with protecting nationalism and making sure your citizens are first. Globalization is not for everyone. However the issue lies in particular with France, as there is a large number of Arab and Muslim population. The largest in Europe in fact. If Le Pen were to come into power, policies like banning hijabs or not able to pray publicly would create an outcry among the Muslim group. Racial tensions have been high in Paris for decades now and the city is already segregated with these groups geographically.

Green lighting these policies, especially the racial and religiously targeted ones will be adding fire to an already fragile situation potentially leading to a mini civil unrest and wide spread riots that could turn very deadly.

Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand is the "pretty boy" of the election is left as the impossible choice. A former investment banker for Rothschild bank and subsequently the Economic minister under president François Hollande's office, he established his party, the EnMarche! Movement in 2016. He is anything but a veteran politician. At 39, he has never held any real political seat and his party, a little over a year old, has no seats currently in the parliament. He also infamously married his schoolteacher, 24 years his senior. However this is France and this is the least low-browing thing about his narrative. He promises to reform and modernize the French economy, continuing to embrace globalization. However, essentially he is a continuity candidate. With him, you will get much of the same and no real solution to the issues that affect the country such as unemployment." reminds me of the famous line "Everything has to change so that everything can stay the same". Famously quoted in he play The Leopard.

A win for Macron will still mean his party has a long road ahead with the task to miraculously create a "make shift" parliament considering they don't have a single seat in office. And can he really play ball with the big boys like Putin and Trump?

This makes his the impossible candidate in many ways as there are many citizens and unions who do not agree with him on his policies or have any confidence in his ability to lead France into the future however, they are coming together to "Block" the Le Pen vote. Loyal Supporters of the two other popular leaders Jean Luc Melenchone and Francois Fillon are a big question mark.

On paper, Macron is the clear favorite with many pundits claiming there is absolutely no way that Le Pen could possibly win. However what makes this situation complicated is that there are a large number of Melenchon and Fillon supporters who say they will abstain or give a Blanc vote. There is a grey area here, depending on how large this number really is that could sway the vote one way or another. Le Pen has her loyal supporters and they will come out in drives to vote. This is not a surprise to anyone and could pose a threat in the end.

The recent political landscape has changed dramatically. With the recent Trump election and the Brexit vote, nothing is set in stone. The people are voicing their anger at the current system, which is simply not working for anyone, and they are resorting to the closest thing they find as solution. There is a widespread phenomenon of nationalism globally and many different countries are "taking back" their land so to speak. However, we know the enemy is not the foreigners but the system as a whole and a rapidly changing global workplace.

Marine Le Pen leader of the National Front, is an Ethno Nationalist candidate often compared to Donald Trump

The French voter is quintessentially different from its American counterpart, where we are seeing a general culture of people willing to put their personal preferences aside and voting for what they probably consider the lesser of the 2 evils. "Anything but The Front National, Anyone but Her" say several of the French voters. As stated by Benoit Hamon, the leader of the socialist party, the difference between the two candidates is that one is a political adversary and the other is an enemy of the Republic. Unfortunately for Le Pen, there is no electoral college in France, so whoever wins the popular vote wins the election.

We will soon find out how the French people have spoken. A surprise wins for Le Pen will change the global landscape forever and the world as we know will not be the same ever again. Regardless of which way the vote sways on Sunday's election, the French people are the one that will suffer. They dream of a brighter future for themselves yet their leadership has monumentally failed them. In any case, it's the end of Europe, as we know.

Dear France, the whole world is watching, may you make the right choice!


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