Macron wins the election, but France’s far right has gained record support

In an address to his supporters in Paris on Sunday night, Le Pen admitted defeat, but said: “We have won nonetheless.”

Thierry Chesnot | Getty Images News | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron may have just won another term, but political analysts believe that the continued rise of the far right will give him significant headaches in the coming years.

“The actual proximity, the relative proximity of the poll and the fact that [Marine] “Le Pen received over 40%, I think it is a condemnatory accusation against the state of French politics and perhaps indeed the state of inequality and standard of living throughout Europe,” said Julian Howard, head of multi-asset solutions at asset management- the company GAM, to CNBC’s. “Squawk Box Europe” Monday.

Centristist Macron obtained 58.54% of the vote on Sunday, while his nationalist and far-right rival Le Pen received 41.46%. Back in 2017, when the two politicians also contested the second round of the French presidential vote, Macron won by 66.1% against Le Pen’s 33.9%.

In an address to his supporters in Paris on Sunday night, Le Pen admitted defeat, but said: “We have won nonetheless.”

“The ideas we represent reach a climax,” she added, noting that her party – the National Rally – at the upcoming legislative elections in June will be a “genuine opposition” to Macron and France’s political establishment.

In France, the president is the highest figure in the state, but the forthcoming parliamentary elections to the National Assembly will show whether Macron will easily be able to pass new laws or face tough roadblocks to get his pro-business and pro-EU agenda through. .

One of the challenges for his second term, as Macron said on Sunday, is to unite France.

Change tone

Le Pen’s findings “including a majority of working-class voters and victories in many rural and suburban areas illustrate the deep divisions in French society that will make Macron’s second term as turbulent as the first,” Mujtaba Rahman, chief executive of the Eurasia Group consulting firm. said in a note Sunday.

Le Pen’s performance in the 2022 election benefited from a change of tone from the far right leader. Political analysts have noted how she became more moderate this time around, avoiding focusing on immigration or meeting European integration. Instead, Le Pen chose to talk about rising inflation and weaker purchasing power of French citizens.

“We should not reject the increase in her vote share; it shows that her efforts to normalize her party and her policies are working,” Jessica Hinds, an economist at Capital Economics, told CNBC via email Monday.

A weak scorecard

Sunday’s vote represented for the third time in a row that Le Pen has not succeeded in becoming France’s president.

After taking the reins of the party from her father in 2011, then called the National Front, she ran for the top post in 2012, 2017 and now 2022. She reached the second and final round of the French presidential vote both in 2017 and this year.

Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, shocked many when he came to the second round of France’s presidential election in 2002; but was defeated by the incumbent Jacques Chirac in a landslide vote. Jean-Marie Le Pen received 17.8% of the vote that year.

“Le Pen will nonetheless have a hard time surviving the next five years as the primary flag bearer of the French far-right. She and her party, the National Rally, will now face a renewed challenge from Eric Zemmour and her own niece, Marion Maréchal, “Rahman said in the same note.

Eric Zemmour, also an anti-immigration and right-wing extremist politician, was one of the many new names on the French political scene up until this year’s election. His performance in the first round of the 2022 vote was weaker than opinion polls had initially estimated, and some analysts pointed to his more aggressive stance – especially towards Ukrainian refugees – as one of the reasons.

Marion Maréchal, Le Pen’s niece, spoke in support of Zemmour during this campaign.

“In terms of [the next presidential election in] “In 2027, the rules say Macron will not be able to run again, nor will Le Pen, even though she has refused to rule out a fourth attempt,” Hinds said.

“So there is a lot that can be different at the next election, five years is a long time,” she added.

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