The French Election And The Defeat Of Democracy

The second and final round of the French presidential election marks May 7th as one of the most crucial dates for the future of European Union. Of course, that’s until the next election....

The outcome of the confrontation between Emmanouel Macron and Marine Le Pen seems predictable—especially after the statements of support for Macron from the vast majority of the other defeated presidential candidates. Or to rephrase this better, statements against Le Pen. No French politician would like his name—and his neutral standing—to be connected with a triumph of right extremists in his country.

I am on the side of those who believe and hope that Le Pen will be defeated on May 7th. But the reality of what we have experienced in the last couple of years make me feel quite uncertain about what exactly we should expect. The devaluation of politics and politicians resulted in outcomes like Donald Trump’s election. I have written about these results in the past. Results that turned politics upside down and belied the predictions of the established political foundations regarding the direction of the general public’s political beliefs. This was the same in the Brexit referendum, the biggest crack that the weak EU suffered at its foundations.

Le Pen will be defeated in Sunday’s presidential run-off. But the gap that will separate her from Macron will be a single-digit number. And that will be the biggest defeat of democratic and liberal values. A vote of more than 45 per cent for Le Pen will effectively mean that nearly 1 out of 2 French voters in their country—the country that leaded the democratic values on the modern western world— supports the national extremists being in charge.

Macron’s victory, won’t be a triumph of common sense and democratic values in France. It will be a Pyrrhic victory that shows the crises of those values in Europe today. It will make clear that national extremists are growing stronger along with racism, intolerance, and social introversion. And it will make it necessary for the EU to change its course in directions that have human values at their core.