ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How France Chose Macron

A Vote against the Extreme Right

Although Emmanuel Macron’s win is historic and unprecedented, a closer look at the results shows that a significant segment of the electorate was not entirely convinced either by his youth or by his image of a middle of the road, liberal moderniser. This section voted not for him but in order to block the National Front.

This article was earlier published in the Web Exclusives section of EPW website.

Almost exactly a year before he waselected the youngest President in the history of the French Republic on 7 May 2017, Emmanuel Macron was in Orleans, the city of Joan of Arc. “She had a crazy dream. Like an arrow, her trajectory was direct. Joan pierced the system,” he said, harking back to the extraordinary journey of France’s historic and legendary heroine, burned at the stake by the English in 1431.

Macron, who assumed office, whether by intention or coincidence, on 14 May which is the Joan of Arc Day, was making a barely veiled reference to his own meteoric rise to come. He was until then the economy minister of a socialist government, barely known to the public. It was in Orléans, whilst addressing a crowd of 60,000 on 8 May 2016 that Macron’s dizzying political journey to the top truly began.

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