The campaign was characterized by There is a huge shortage of enthusiasmVoters and candidates. France’s war in Ukraine has taken over all news coverage and attention. This means that television debates and other political events are no longer being aired. All signs point to France repeating the 2017 scenario. President Emmanuel Macron with Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidateThey would then proceed to the second round on April 24, where the LREM leader would win again.
It is true that nothing is written. Macron certainly has many advantages that place him at the top of the polls. One is the fact that he has survived different crises in his five years of office. The coronavirus, the “yellow vests”, and the recent war with Ukraine are the examples of these “yellow vests”. They have supported it and not made it less strong. He seems to have seven lives and is a cat who always lands on his feet.
Macron faced a number of crises, including the one-time “yellow Vests” crisis. This mobilization of almost three million people was between the end 2018 and the start of 2019. Social movements demanded that the carbon tax be stopped. This meant an increase in energy services and higher wages. The “yellow vests” demanded that workers “make ends meets”, denouncing that.It was impossible to get a job with a salary of 1,100 euro.Quickly, the political chants of yellow protests turned against Macron. They demanded his resignation and burned his photo.
Paris and other interior cities were the scene for violent clashes between police and protesters every Saturday. More than 2,000 people were injured and nearly 6,500 detained. 500 police abuse cases have been reported by human rights organizations. In an attempt to end the protest, the president made a decision in December 2018 to stop raising fuel prices. The movement collapsed from there. Was Macron stronger after this crisis? But not really. Politically, he survived. However, the root causes of discontent remain: low purchasing power and inequality between cities and countryside, as well as a perception that the elites are “contemptuous”, which continues to be a fertile ground for a new social explosion.
Assistance for partial unemployment, which is the equivalent of the Temporary Employment Regulation File in Spain, was extended to all workers without exception. It covered 100% of the cost of time not worked. A solidarity fund of 2,000,000,000 euros was created for micro-entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, and self-employed SMEs. New bank loans were also supported by a 300 billion euro guarantee fund. This provided liquidity to the economy. Macron announced in June 2021 that his government had mobilized a total of 500 billion euros to keep it afloat. This was a figure that caused fear and debt in the long-term, but allowed for the relief of the immediate effects of the stoppage.
Emmanuel Macron hasn’t run a traditional campaign in these elections. It would be more accurate to say that he has not campaigned at any time. He announced his candidacy late and has been devoted to the fight against the Ukrainian war from his post as president the European Union. And yes, obviously, the 18 telephone conversations he has had with Vladimir Putin, the meeting they had in Moscow – despite the thousands of jokes generated by the kilometric table that separated them – and the announcements of the shipment of war material, support economy, the application of sanctions against Russia and the reception of thousands of Ukrainians on French soil have been an invaluable campaign argument for Macron.
French citizens want France to be in control. That is what the president seems to offer at this moment. However, many criticize his efforts to continue to negotiate with Moscow. In the face of wars that could easily extend to France, it is clear that the moment is not the best time to “change a pilot”. Especially when Macron’s two main rivals, Marine Le Pen and Jean Luc Mélenchon, have a long history of affinities and admiration for Vladimir Putin. Although unlikely, the possibility that a new Vichy-style collaborationist administration will be formed tilts the balance in favor of his re-election.