Recently, France held their annual 5-year presidential elections. The victor in the elections was Emmanuel Macron, the Incumbent French President, who defeated his far-right opponent of the Republique Nationale party, Marine Le Pen. Le Pen had run three times before this election for president, and had slowly increased in popularity every election season. However, Le Pen lost by nearly 10% of the French vote to Macron, who had been elected by a wide margin in the last electoral season. The last French individual to be reelected to their position was French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, who was reelected to Prime Minister in 1986 and became President from 1995 to 2007. With the historic Reelection of Macron, he is expected to serve another 5 years as French President until 2027. Marine Le Pen stated after her defeat that, despite the loss, she “feels a sense of hope with it” and “will never abandon the French”, signaling she will likely run for election for a fourth time in 2027 against Macron if he is still President by that point.
Macron Celebrating his Reelection (Benoit Tessie/Via Reuters)
Marine Le Pen is part of a long line of far-right political parties, with her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, being a prominent far-right French political candidate in the 1970s to the early 2000s, who had run several times for president himself. Marine followed in her father’s footsteps in the early 2000s, rising to prominence among the political far-right of France due to her father’s legacy and her promises to ‘fight terrorism at home’ and attempt to push away from the European Union and Germany amid the War on Terror. The promises brought her to rise in popularity, and after distancing herself from her father’s legacy and changing her party’s name to the modern Republique Nationale, she has grown in popularity and has finally made the far-right a mainstream group in French politics, with her 41% of the French vote this electoral season. Le Pen has also come under criticism after losing the election due to her former ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a loan her party took out in 2017 from a Russian-Czech bank, which the party is still repaying. Le Pen has distanced herself from Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.
Le Pen celebrating the results of the 2022 Election in Paris, where she won the vote of all 20 Arrondissements/Districts (Albert Gea/Via Reuters)
Le Pen still remains popular to the French public despite her controversial past, and with the nearly 45% of the French vote that the Republique Nationale obtained in 2022, there are fears among political analysts and European leaders that Le Pen could likely win the 2027 elections and bring a far-right, Anti-Islamist and Anti-European Union candidate into the French presidency. We have yet to see the effects of the Election on France as a whole.