French Election Comes Down to Two

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen to Battle for the French Presidency

Lily Bazis, Staff Writer

French politics took an exciting yet surprising turn on Sunday, April 23rd, as Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen were elected to go head-to-head to determine the next French president. With Macron a political novice, and Le Pen being a far-right extremist, the future of the country is looking very interesting.

As Macron and Le Pen move on to the final election, Macron, a centrist, leads in the polls with 23.9% of the votes, while national front leader Le Pen is not far behind with 21.4%. These numbers seem astounding to many, as neither candidate comes from the parties that have dominated the country for decades. It was also a huge victory for Macron, who at 39 worked as an investment banker and has never before stood for elected office.

With slightly more experience in politics, Le Pen will attempt to win the French people over through her controversial beliefs in nationalism, anti-immigration and, according to The New York Times, “limiting public signs of Muslim faith, including the wearing of headscarves.” Her extreme views have been compared to those of Donald Trump, especially during his run to the presidency in the 2016 election.

Macron is taking a slightly different route with his centrist “En Marche!” political movement, which translates to “Forward!”. Unlike Le Pen, Macron is pro-European Union, and feels that Muslims have been unfairly targeted in France. Macron has made it clear that “no religion is a problem in France today,” which he said during a rally in October 2016, reports CNN. “We have a duty to let everybody practice their religion with dignity.”

The French people and those all over the world fear for the future of France and what either candidate winning means for the country. The New York Times reports that Bernard Cazeneuve, the sitting Socialist prime minister, called Le Pen’s intents “dangerous and sectarian” and said it would “impoverish, isolate and divide” the country.

Of course, there is still time for French voters to make their final decisions for the final round of the election on May 7th, which will decide the presidency. The outcome of either candidate winning means big changes for France either way, with a new vision for the country.