France: Expert warns of rise of the far-right amid election results
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Speaking to the BBC podcast Newscast, French pollster Edouard Lecerf cited the sheer rise in numbers voting for the Le Pen party, which were almost at 42 percent this year in the French Presidential election, compared with 18 percent twenty years ago, under Ms Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen. Mr Lecerf said there is now “a real pressure” on Emmanuel Macron over the next five years to try and subdue the rapidly growing far-right sentiment in France.
Mr Lecerf said: “If you look back, not five years ago but 20 years ago, Jacques Chirac was facing Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen’s father, and he defeated him with 82 percent of the vote.
“Five years ago, Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen with 66 percent of the vote. This time he will probably defeat her with something like 58 to 59 percent.
“So you can see on the opposite, the National Front and then National Rally, is gaining little by little.
“It was 18 percent in the second round, it was 33 percent in the second round, this time it’s around 41 to 42 percent.
“That’s really something. The gap has narrowed and is narrowing all the time.”
He added: “If you count in millions of votes, five years ago, there was a 10 million difference in votes for Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
“This time, it’s probably around five million, so you see what’s happening. The gap is narrowing. There is now a real pressure on Emmanuel Macron.”
The comments come as it was announced that Mr Macron defeated Ms Le Pen for the second time during a second round Presidential election, with votes cast and counted over the weekend.
The official figures show that the standing President won 58.55 percent of the vote compared to 41.45 percent for the National Rally leader.
While the margin of victory was greater than polls had anticipated, it was the lowest turnout in a presidential run-off since 1969, with under 72 percent of the electorate turning up.
And Mr Macron acknowledged in his acceptance speech that many who did, in fact, vote for him, did so “not out of support for my ideas but to block those of the extreme right”.
He said: “I want to thank them and I know that I have a duty towards them in the years to come.
“An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right. It will be my responsibility and that of those around me.”
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And Ms Le Pen, despite the defeat, was optimistic about the future of her National Rally party and the ideologies she represents.
She said after the election result: “Despite two weeks of unfair and violent methods, the ideas we represent are reaching new heights on this election night.
“With more than 43 percent of the vote, the result represents in itself a resounding victory.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to those who put their trust in me in the first round and to the millions who joined us in the second. In this defeat, I cannot help but feel a sense of hope.”
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