Response Towards Frexit Referendum: What if it were Le Pen? 

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On the 24th of April, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as the President of France. Macron took 58.5% of the total vote and became the first president in 20 years to win a second term. On the other side of the table, Marine Le Pen took 41.5% of the total vote and declared that it was a win for her. The number of voters that voted for Le Pen terrace compared to the 2017 election. This number could represent the amount of Le Pen supporters that support her campaign and reflect the amount of Frexit referendum proponents that Le Pen proposed in her campaign. In this writing, I will present the effect of the French Presidential election on European politics. 

The French Presidential election has been a great success for Emmanuel Macron. With a total of 18,768,639 votes, Macron secured his second term in office. Before that, President Jacques Chirac beat Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, with 82 percent of the vote on the second ballot (Bisserbe, 2022). However, alongside Macron’s triumph, the country has fractured along economic, generational, and geographical lines. The impact of this condition is wealthier urban voters gravitate toward Macron while working-class voters in France’s rural areas back Le Pen.

Macron will face a lot of pressure in his second presidency. In the first round of voting, Macron only gained 27.9% of the total vote with more than 50% of the votes went to candidates on the far right and far left. One of the factors here is Macron’s drive to consolidate years of pro-business overhauls to the French economy. This spirit has fueled discontent among voters who haven’t prospered under his administration, hence making Macron’s intent on the line now. In his victory speech, Macron said that he will unite France and re-establish the method for five years of better service. Macron also acknowledged that some of the voters voted for him to keep the far-right out of office.
The 2022 election is an event for a centralist against far-rights, a liberalist against a populist-nationalist. The populist-nationalist nominee, Marine Le Pen, is a controversial actor on her own. One of the most controversial acts is the Frexit referendum in her presidential election campaign. Although the so-called Euroscepticism behavior wasn’t very strange, it built up heat in the European atmosphere. Thus, Le Pen’s presidency would put France on a collision course with the European Union (Nature, 2022). Her party is intending to violate European laws and regulations by restricting employment or state benefits for European Union citizens from outside France. This could be ending the free movement of people between France and its European Union neighbors.

Meanwhile, Euroscepticism has played a substantial role in European politics. In the 2014 European Parliamentary election, radical parties topped the polls in some countries while others gained parliamentary representation for the first time. The status of Eurosceptic parties is reinforced and Euroscepticism has entered the mainstream (Brack, 2015). Even though Euroscepticism could cause instability in the European Union, it has some benefits to the European Union. Euroscepticism provides a channel of expression that otherwise won’t be presented (Brack, 2015). This view could affect the deliberation of European Parliamentary or European decision-making. With the French Presidential election result, we can see that this view has gained more supporters. 

From my point of view, the French Presidential election has a lot of impact on European politics. The result of the election has been regarded as a “democratic win”. A lot of voters tend to vote against Le Pen because it is considered the only democratic option. Le Pen’s stance, Euroscepticism, is too controversial for the French people even though Emmanuel Macron, who has been re-elected, is recently viewed as “the mouthpiece for the EU” (Whiters, 2022). It is visible when he flew to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin in an attempt to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron has a lot of jobs to do for his further presidency, especially in accommodating all of the opinions of the French people. All along, Euroscepticism will live among French people with its benefits, one of them being a different point of view for the European Union. Nonetheless, the European Parliament needs to oversee the Euroscepticism view to build a better political environment in Europe.

Reference:

Bieserbe. N. (2022). France’s Emmanuel Macron Wins Second Term in Presidential Election. Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/emmanuel-macron-wins-french-election-2022-11650815682

Brack, N. (2015). The roles of Eurosceptic Members of the European Parliament and their implications for the EU. International Political Science Review / Revue Internationale de Science Politique, 36(3), 337–350. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24573396

Nature. (2022). Le Pen election win would be disastrous for research, France and Europe. Nature, 604, 401.Withers, P. (24 April 2022). ‘Frexit NOW!’ Macron warned French election win will send EU referendum pressure soaring. Express. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1598588/french-election-news-emmanuel-macron-frexit-france-eu-referendum-marine-le-pen.

Hugo Mohammad is the staff of ISAFIS’ RnD Division. He is a first-year international relations student.

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