The results are largely in for the French election of the next president. Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate has been projected to win by a landslide with roughly 65 percent of the vote and Le Pen losing with roughly 35 percent. Le Pen conceded the election just a short while ago. This election was the beginning and perhaps the early downturn of what many had seen as a right-leaning populist movement in the west with Donald Trump being the trigger to the movement.
Le Pen’s views could easily be compared with Trump’s, as both are anti-globalization and both favor leaving international associations like the European Union. Trump voiced his support of the Brexit movement on several occasions and Le Pen is considered anti-EU. Le Pen was the hope of many who wanted to see a more nationalist and anti-immigration viewpoint take hold in Europe. The hopes for Le Pen to bring France to the point of a “Frexit” dashed, at least for the foreseeable future, Macron now has promises to keep including lowering spending and improving education in the country.
Trump has already congratulated Macron on his success, despite Trump’s preference towards Le Pen’s political views. As a centrist, Macron is not likely to ally himself too heavily with Trump as, in the eyes of many, he just competed against France’s version of Trump. The relations between the United States will likely not suffer significantly, but no great partnership of leaders is likely either.
The results of this election say some interesting things about the population of France in light of the current state of affairs there. France has recently undergone more terrorist attacks than usual, and as such, a surge of anti-immigrant sentiment would be reasonable to expect. By the landslide victory of Macron, it can be readily observed that this has not been the case in France. One difference in the outcomes of the elections in the United States and France may be that in France, the figure opposing the Trump-like viewpoint was of a centrist viewpoint. In the United States, on the other hand, the opposition to Trump was Hillary Clinton, a further left-wing politician than Macron. This may have been a crucial difference, as well as the run-off style of the French election excluding third-parties who don’t secure enough of the vote, leading to a two-person race, rather than the United States style of electoral process.
The ultimate meaning of the French election in the larger context of European politics remains to be seen, but for now, the nationalist segment has fallen short and the centrist position of Macron takes the lead.