Following months of surprising and unprecedented campaigning to elect the president of France, Emmanuel Macron is today the winner.
Emmanuel Macron, centrist candidate of the movement En Marche! he created less than a year ago, has been elected with 65.5% of the votes, slightly more than the polls had predicted. He should officially take office on 14 May 2017.
Key facts about today’s vote:
- 34.5% of the votes went to Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, a rate not as high as expected even if it is the highest score for this party in its history (approx. 10 million people). Ms. Le Pen committed to forming the “number one opposition force” to globalization and will continue to be Mr. Macron’s top opponent. She announced she will reform her movement with a new dynamic and maybe even a new name and an open door for forming a coalition with other nationalist parties.
- A 75% participation rate, one of the lowest in the history of presidential elections in France, a time that is usually the most active moment in the French democracy. It was even a lower rate than the first round of voting, stressing that the traditional “Republican Front” (people uniting against the far-right party) did not turn out.
- 12% were null/blank votes (not counted in the final official results), much higher than the usual 4-6%, highlighting the rejection of these two candidates and the strong division in France. This was illustrated in the first round of voting when four candidates garnered 20% of the vote.
Populism has been contained in France and the country has its youngest president ever, a president who is also pro-Europe, pro-business and not a member of any of the political parties that have framed modern French politics. This is a total reset of the political landscape.
The general elections (National assembly renewal) come in just over a month June 11 and 18 and the newly elected president will try to find a majority to help in implement his agenda.
- In the coming days, Mr. Macron will reveal the name of his prime minister and the candidates to become MPs. He will certainly try to negotiate beforehand with some prominent members of both the right-wing and left-wing to strengthen a large coalition.
- Les Républicains (right-wing party) will try to maintain itself as an entity after Mr. Fillon’s loss on the first round to force Mr. Macron into a coalition (the Parliament and Government not being from the president’s majority).
- Ms. Le Pen will work to gain more MPs to form a political group in the lower chamber.
Emmanuel Macron will also act quickly through a series of measures:
- A draft of his promised ethics bill will be presented in June;
- A series of measures to simplify labor laws as well as administrative burdens on small to medium enterprises;
- No corrective budget bill is scheduled in July 2017 as it is usually the case when a new majority is in place. This will be replaced by the launch of an audit of public finances to build a programming finances law for the 5 years to come, to be discussed next autumn. Tax stability is a key agenda item for President-elect Macron.
- A visit of EU capital cities this summer to “build a 5-year roadmap for a true EU handling environment, industry and migrant issues.”
APCO Worldwide’s Paris team will follow closely all the developments following the arrival of Macron’s administration.