Macron wins French election by wide margin
8 May 17
IMPACT – MEDIUM
Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European Union political centrist, won a landslide victory in France’s presidential election Sunday.
Macron bested Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader of the National Front political party, by a nearly two-to-one margin, taking 66.1 percent in Sunday’s runoff compared with Le Pen’s 33.9 percent. Macron and Le Pen were the top two finishers in the first round of France’s presidential voting April 23.
The two offered starkly different views on immigration and France’s place in the EU.
Macron called for integration measures to teach foreigners about French language and for strengthening the EU’s external borders, but also defended the EU, called for increasing high-skilled immigration and for reducing talent-visa processing times. Le Pen called for France to dramatically reduce immigration, suspend participation in the Schengen Area and perhaps leave the EU. She wanted to make it harder for French employers to hire foreign workers and proposed a tax on new employment contracts for all foreign employees.
The election drew international attention not just because of what it meant for France, but also as a harbinger of the strength of an international populist tide after Brexit in the U.K. and the election of President Donald Trump in the U.S.
BAL Analysis: BAL will continue following developments in France, and it should become clearer in the coming weeks what immigration changes might be on the horizon. Broadly speaking, Macron’s victory makes it more likely that France will follow its current immigration trends. The vote will be welcomed by supporters of the EU. Le Pen promised dramatic changes to France’s immigration programs, but, as analysts expected, voters opted for the centrist Macron instead.
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