Today is April 14, 2022. And we are 10 days away from the second round of the French Presidential elections (Listen here).
You remember few days ago I had mentioned to you an article from Le Monde, few days only prior to the first round. It was highlighting how a large segment of the voters were ready to choose a candidate who is expressing Euroskeptic views and positions that take some distance from NATO. The author of the article emphasized that it was close to 50% of the voters.
Now that the first round has delivered its results, these assumptions are more than confirmed. If we add Mélenchon and Le Pen only, they both represent 45.1% of the first round. If you add to that Zemmour at 7.1%, you end up at 52.2%. Now you can even add smaller candidates who express what we call “souverainiste” positions. Jean Lassalle with his 3.1% and Nicholas Dupont-Aignan with 2.1% would bring the total share of that specific segment at 57.4%. The “souverainiste” positions promote national sovereignty.
That is not the kind of percentage that you can just simply ignore.
With France holding the presidency of the European Council until the end of the first semester, and given its role as the first military power within the European Union, it is very likely that all other European Union leaders must be watching very carefully.
So it’s worth taking a closer look at what Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon think about the European Union, NATO and other geopolitical issues. Needless to say that, given the current context, the mix of power likely to result from the next 10 weeks in France will probably send shockwaves across Europe.
Macron is very favorable to the idea of a European Union deepening. He is the favorite candidate of the European Union, yet the results of the first round are forcing him also to water down his pro EU stance.
Le Pen is aligned on a very eurosceptic position. She wants a Europe made of nations and is ready to deeply reform the European institutions. Her stance is to put French laws above European laws, a line adopted more recently by Poland. She clearly has watered down her wish to exit the European Union, also know as FREXIT, yet her program is very eurosceptic. Despite that watering down, if you look at her whole economic program, you start to realize that she would not be able to apply it if France wanted to continue to comply with European Union treaties and agreements. So there is a contradiction in her basic posture.
Mélenchon is also a Eurosceptic but his program does not fully shatter the European Union institutions. He acknowledges the EU, its institutions and its treaties but also calls for a direct confrontation and negotiation with France’s partners should his program be challenged by European Union regulations. He calls for shifting the balance of power in favor of France, but within the respect of EU institutions. That’s a clear shift from the position he had few years ago. In the perspective of that second round, Mélenchon is not compelled to explain himself yet, but the results on April 24, will pave the way for the elections in June at the National Assembly.
Clearly, this second round is already in a parliamentary mode.
Let me know if you have questions and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Feel free to comment.