Sunday, Aug 14, 2022

French Election: Emmanuel Macron Wins Second Term, Defeats Far-Right Candidate

Emmanuel Macron's victory comes as a reassurance to the European Union and NATO of continued French leadership role in the region.

France President Emmanuel Macron AP/PTI

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday secured a second presidential term by winning the French election, according to polling agencies' projections.

Macron's victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen comes as a reassurance to the European Union and NATO of France's continued leadership role in the region.

Le Pen had during her campaign pledged to dilutre the French relations with the 27-nation EU, the NATO military alliance, and Germany. She had also been vocal against sanctions on Russian following the invasion of Ukraine. Her election would have therefore shaken Europe's security architecture and would have come as a blow to EU and NATO at a time when the war in Ukraine has emerged as the biggest crisis for Europe since World War Two.

Though Le Pen lost and conceded defeat on Sunday night, her far-right agenda garnered its most successful results so far.

World leaders greeted Macron following his victory. Messages from European leaders made the signifiance of his victory for Europe clear.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Congratulations to my friend Emmanuel Macron on being re-elected as the President of France! I look forward to continue working together to deepen the India-France Strategic Partnership."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter, " I look forward to continuing our excellent cooperation. Together, we will move France and Europe forward."

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida congratulated Macron on Twitter and said, “I hope to closely work with President Macron in a wide range of issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz compared Macron's victory to Europe's victory. He sain in a tweet, "Your constituents also sent a strong commitment to Europe today. I am pleased that we will continue our good cooperation!"

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a conservative who spearheaded Britain's exit from EU, said on Twitter, "France is one of our closest and most important allies. I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues which matter most to our two countries and to the world." 

It was a tight race and Le Pen had given a tough competition to Macron. A few months back, a victory appeared to be easy for Macron but things changed in last few months as prices soared across the country and a sentiment developed that said Macron had been too much enaged in international affairs with the beginning of the war in Ukraine that he was not focusing on French affairs. This helped the rise of hard nationalist, far-right Le Pen. 

(With AP inputs)