France will have a new president soon


atlas info

Victor Cardoso, Staff Writer

On April 23, 2017, French voters went to the polls to vote in the first phase of their presidential election. The result of the first round is Emmanuel Macron of the En March! (Forward) movement, and Marine Le Pen of the National Front (NF); both will proceed to the second round of the election.

The French election is different from U.S. elections. Elections in France contain two rounds. A candidate must receive at least fifty percent or more to become president. If the fifty percent requirement is not met in the first round, then there will be a runoff at a later date. The top two candidates will be competing in the second round, and whichever candidate gets at least fifty percent or more of the votes will become the next president of France.

The result of the first round amounted to Emmanuel Macron receiving 23.75% of votes, while Marine Le Pen receiving 21.53% of the votes.

According to The Financial Times, the second round of the French election with a projected victory for Emmanuel Macron with 64% of votes, and Marine Le Pen receiving the remaining 36% of votes.

Marine Le Pen, formerly of the National Front, a far-right wing populist and political group in France, is among one of the top contenders for the presidency of France. Marine Le Pen took after her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011. Marine Le Pen has been attempting to restore her former party’s image since she became leader, but she has met many challenges in doing so.

Some of Marine Le Pen’s campaign promises and policies she plans to implement in France could lead to the very demise of the European Union.

Marine Le Pen is anti- European Union, saying, “The European Union is imposing double trouble on us: the lack of physical borders with the irresponsible Schengen Treaty.”

The Schengen Treaty is a law passed in the European Union that allowed free travel between  EU countries without a passport.

While being anti-European Union, Marine Le Pen is evidently anti-immigration.

Marine Le Pen is committed to making immigration policies in France more strict, and difficult for those wishing to immigrate into France. Ms. Le Pen argues that French citizenship should be “either inherited or merited” and as for illegal immigrants, they “have no reason to stay in France, these people broke the law the minute they set foot on French soil.”

“If she [Marine Le Pen] were to become president, if she does what she said she was going to do on the campaign trail, as I understand it, she would follow a policy much like Brexit and try to take France out of the European Union, which could lead to the disintegration of the European Union.” said Mr. John Tenney, a teacher of Contemporary Issues at Naugatuck High School.

Ms. Le Pen also said she will terminate free education for children of undocumented immigrants. In a speech in Paris, Ms. Le Pen said, “If you come to our country don’t expect to be taken care of, to be looked after, that your children will be educated without charge.”

Marine Le Pen faces even more challenge for the presidency from her opponent Emmanuel Macron.

Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! is a former financial minister and banker, and has run his campaign on pro- EU policies, such as strengthening France’s position with the European Union.

Emmanuel Macron has also planned to create a five year financial plan to boost France’s finances and investments in several sectors, such as job training, farming, transport, infrastructure and healthcare.

Emmanuel’s five year plan also includes a target of saving fifty billion Euros in public spending, 8.4 billion Euros in unemployment benefits but reducing the unemployment rate by seven per cent.

In comparison to Marine Le Pen, Mr. Macron does not wish to close France’s borders, often speaking about ethnic and religious freedom in France.

“As I understand it, he [Emmanuel Macron] would follow the policies of past governments,and try to build France’s role under the European Union, and try to solve immigration issue in a different from [Ms.] Le Pen in a more inclusive kind of way.” said Mr. Tenney.

It is unclear if France will experience years of economic growth under Ms. Le Pen or Mr. Macron, but france has a choice and many of their decisions on the presidency not only affects France or the EU, but to the world.