Emmanuel Macron has been left alone. He is the ultimate guarantor of the system. Both the French system and the European and international. After having absorbed and destroyed the center-left (socialist) party and the center-right party (The Republicans), Macron it is the system.
His opponent in the second round on April 24, Marine Le Pen, advocates a profound reform of the European Union to turn it into a “society of nations”, with many nations and little society. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the undisputed leader of the left, eliminated by a narrow margin in the first round, also wants another European Union, focused on the popular and the ecological.
Both Le Pen and Mélenchon, the two alternatives to Macron, demand that France leave NATO.
It is quite possible, though by no means certain, that Macron will win a second term as president. Let us take this hypothesis for granted, which implies continuity and the absence of national and international ruptures. What lies beyond Macron and La République en Marche?
If she fails to win the presidency on her third try, Marine Le Pen could (she has suggested, but no one believes) hand over the leadership of her movement to someone else. Even in this case, the results of last Sunday make it clear that the new ultra right, with Le Pen or without Le Pen (or with another person from the Le Pen family, as tradition suggests) will be articulated in the future around some How many radical postulates: anti-European nationalism, anti-Atlantic nationalism, authoritarianism and outright rejection of the liberal principles and guarantees of human rights on which France has been articulated in recent decades.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon has also exposed the hypothesis of a withdrawal: he is already 70 years old. With him or without him, a left that does not depend on the hegemonic France Insoumise, the party that Mélenchon, a former socialist minister, raised from nothing is inconceivable. Mélenchon’s voters, that is, the voters of what remains of the left, reject NATO and the “Europe of merchants”, which they see, not without reason, as an exoskeleton of Germany. In this sense, the surviving left is as prone to sovereignty as the extreme right, the only one that remains outside of macronism.
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A victory for Le Pen on the 24th would precipitate events. Once again, and there are already a few, France would turn the history of Europe upside down. A victory for Macron would keep the status quo, but it would open a five-year period quite similar to the last years of General Charles de Gaulle as president. As soon as an ailing de Gaulle won the 1965 elections, already 75 years old, nothing was talked about other than the future of France without de Gaulle. That last mandate of the general was turbulent and May 68 ended his legitimacy. Macron is still young. But in the event that he continues to live in the Elysée Palace, the big question will also float on his second and last term: and then what?
The one who was Macron’s prime minister between 2017 and 2020, Édouard Philippe, tries to profile himself as the successor and guardian of the system. Outside the walls, there are no other alternatives than an extreme right and a radical left. Neither one nor the other are conventional alternatives, but options for profound change. For France and for the West.
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