It was France's time to vote yesterday. Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won the most votes with 24,01%, second was Marine Le Pen with 21,3%. Both will now fight for the majority in the next round of elections on May 7 to win the Presidency.
Emmanuel Macron is the new, bold kid in French politics and is the driving force behind his movement En Marche. He’s only 39 years old and was a banker in a previous life. After that he worked as a government official for current President Francois Hollande. Macron considers himself nor right nor left. And good news for the Europeans, he is definitely pro Europe.
Marine Le Pen considers the EU as a hostile organization, taking away the independence and identity of France. If she wins the elections a referendum will be held to decide whether to leave the EU or not, following the example of Great Britain. A horror story for the European leaders. Also, Le Pen blames immigration as the cause of criminality, Islamism and terrorism. Her aim is to shut all boarders in order to protect all French people and give back the old patriotic values she considers French.
Some happy, some… not so much
Many people are positive that Macron will win the next round. Many European leaders are happy because this means that France will definitely stay in the European Union. Others are a little more critical.
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, sees it a little more negative. "4/10 of the French voted for a closed community." With this he means the people who voted for Le Pen and for Méchelon, the radical left-wing candidate, who won 19,2% of the votes. “This makes me wonder: what is happening in our society?”
Fillon (centrum-right), who won 19,8% of the votes, and Hamon (left), who won 6,36%, already gathered behind Macron and told their voters to vote for him and “fight radicalism.”
Why is this election so special?
For the first time in French history not a single traditional party has been chosen.
What will happen now?
On May 3 a debate between the two remaining candidates will be held. On May 7, the French will go to the voting booth again. Although many are positive that Macron will win, people still need to go vote. If people think that their vote will not be necessary, he can still lose.
On June 11 and 18, the French will vote for their parliament. The party that wins the presidency will need to win a majority in the Parliament or they will have to govern with a different political party, “cohabitation” they call it in France.
So nothing is sure yet. Macron might win but with examples like Trump and Brexit, we now you can never be sure until the day itself. Shout! will keep you posted!
Kato Vander Sande is our Belgian correspondent. Her speciality is women's issues, climate change and entertainment. She studies journalism at Thomas More University College.
The opinions expressed here by Shout! columnists are their own, not those of Shout!