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Macron’s re-election gives EU dose of consistency in turbulent times

French incumbent President Emmanuel Macron waves to supporters at a rally after the presidential runoff in Paris, France, on April 24, 2022. Xinhua Photo

Paris, France | Xinhua | Emmanuel Macron’s election Sunday to a second five-year term as French president gives Europe a dose of consistency during its most tumultuous period in decades, analysts have said.

With European countries facing the widespread repercussions of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and battling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Macron’s re-election likely represents strong support for maintaining current strategies.

He is the first French president to win a second term in two decades.

If Macron had been unseated by his rival Marine Le Pen, there were fears that the unity of the European Union (EU) could have been threatened, analysts said. France was a founding member of the EU.

“Europe was central to (Macron’s) policies in his first term, and it will be in his second term. He may be more pragmatic, or look for more consensus building, but the belief in Europe will not change,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director for the European Council on Foreign Relations.

That likely means continued French backing for a united EU stance for post-pandemic measures, as well as for efforts to fight climate change.

There will also be a focus on what Macron has called “European sovereignty”; protecting European values and priorities from outside influence.

According to Jean-Pierre Darnis, a French national and professor of political science at Rome’s LUISS university, Macron’s re-election as French president could strengthen his influence at European level.

The next task for Macron and his allies will be to win a parliamentary majority when the new legislature is elected in June. The outcome of the June vote could help determine how much Macron will be able to push for his policies in France and beyond.

Though Macron won 58.5 percent of Sunday’s vote, Le Pen’s 41.5 percent is still the strongest result ever for a far-right party in France.

Analysts say it signals divisions in the country that could make governance difficult for Macron in his next term.

When the same two candidates faced off in the second round of voting in the presidential election five years ago, Macron won by a wider margin, with 66 percent of the vote compared to 34 percent for Le Pen.



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