Over a quarter of voters abstained in the election. Macron only won the first round with 24% of the vote, against Le Pen’s 21%. In the run-off he got 66% with the highest number of abstentions since 1969. More people rejected the candidates than voted for Le Pen. The turn-out was the worst in modern times, with a total of just 48.7%.
Macron, a wealthy banker and ex-civil servant, saw his opportunity lay in leaving a discredited ‘socialist’ party. He is a leader elected without any political mandate, who wants government to function just like any other capitalist enterprise – notice any similarities here? On Trump’s visit to France, Macron did little to suggest he was any different from the US President.
Macron sees himself as a Thatcher figure who will radicalise French politics. The claim that his new party En Marche! is above the old two party system is spurious, as it is made up of powerful figures from both ‘old’ parties and their supporters who remain in the shadows. For example ‘les Gracques’, are a secretive pressure group staffed by influential chief executives and civil service bosses, who decided that the old ‘socialist’ party no longer served the needs of a neoliberal establishment.
One of Macron’s first announcements was £10 billion of tax cuts. Alongside these are overtures (bribes) attractive enough to lure City firms to Paris. The government also says it will bring France’s public deficit below the EU target of 3% of GDP this year for the first time since 2007. France, however, has a shortfall of more than £7 billion in this year’s budget.
Another crucial announcement is his intention to destroy France’s hard-won labour laws, to make it easier to hire and fire staff and reduce redundancy payments. Street protests have taken place. It will be a test of France’s trade union solidarity.
At the G20 Macron showed himself to be a neo-colonial racist, referring to Africans as being uncivilised. There are still strong trade links with former colonies, especially focused on the extraction industries. The vast amount of trade is one way, to the benefit of France. The West African CFA franc and the Central Africa CFA franc are two currencies used in Africa, guaranteed by the French Treasury, which legalise dubious currency manipulation. ‘Francafrique’ means that the CFA zone countries must deposit 50% of their currency reserves into a fictitious operations account managed by the French Treasury.
Despite the cuts to the French military, which sparked the resignation/sacking of military leader, General de Villiers, Macron has vowed to expand France’s influence over former colonies. He and Merkel have also agreed to develop a joint fighter plane, putting defence at the heart of Franco – German relations.
Macron is ambitious for himself, which could be a threat to Merkel and Germany’s domination of Europe. EU austerity persists. Macron’s election is a threat to French workers and peace in Europe.