French election: Will France vote for a reformed or no EU?

Emmanuelle Macron

Meeting on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – From humiliation and exclusion to participation : eradicate all forms of poverty Date: 19/10/2016. City: BRUSSELS. Copyright: © European Union 2016 – Source : EP. Photo: Alexis Haulot

The run-off presidential election approaches and the leader of “En Marche!” movement leads the race over his political opponent Marine Le Pen. Both attempt to influence the remaining undecided French people who are going to vote on Sunday.

On the one hand, Emmanuelle Macron supports an EU reform in order for France to remain within the bloc. Otherwise, Frexit is most likely or the National Front (FN) will rise again. On the other hand, Ms Le Pen, even if she has promised a referendum on France’s membership in the EU, she has now slowed down regarding a quick exit of France from the EU.

European people have showed that disagree with the policies of their leaders and are expressing their disapproval with the rise of populist parties such as the National Front in France, Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, Golden Dawn in Greece, Freedom Party in Austria and many more in the rest of the EU.

French polls

According to BBC News’s composite of the five most recent national polls and just a few days before the election, Emmanuelle Macron is ahead with a 20% advantage over Marine Le Pen. The leader of the party “En Marche!” is favored more in western and south central France while Ms Le Pen in the northeast and southern coast.

However, there are many voters who have not yet decided which of the two candidates to support. It must not be forgotten though that Marine Le Pen gained recently the support of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan who received 4.7% in the first round of the French election and in case the National Front wins then Mr Dupont will become Prime Minister.

Macron’s plan

Emmanuelle Macron mentioned last Monday that the EU must be reformed and that the French people are not satisfied with the policies that are implemented by the EU leaders. More specifically, Mr Macron stated to BBC: “I’m a pro-European, I defended constantly during this election the European idea and European policies because I believe it’s extremely important for French people and for the place of our country in globalization. But at the same time we have to face the situation, to listen to our people, and to listen to the fact that they are extremely angry today, impatient and the dysfunction of the EU is no more sustainable. So I do consider that my mandate, the day after, will be at the same time to reform in depth the European Union and our European project. And I don’t want to do so. Because the day after, we will have a Frexit or we will have [Ms Le Pen’s] National Front (FN) again.”

Mr Macron’s statement is meant to influence the undecided voters in France making them believe that he can revert the ongoing situation and manage to reform the EU. However, it is very difficult to achieve such reforms the moment that the EU experience unprecedented changes with the UK to be the first to leave the EU.

Le Pen fights back

On the other side, Marine Le Pen has realized that a vigorous promotion of Frexit is not making her more popular. Therefore, she dropped down the exit from the EU from her top campaign priorities targeting at older voters who are extremely concerned of how a Frexit would impact their pensions.

The FN leader, in an attempt to become more popular, also attacks and undermines her opponent by saying that he continues the failed policies of Francois Hollande characterizing him as “a puppet of the outgoing Socialist Francois Hollande”.

Furthermore, Ms Le Pen’s alliance with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan will increase her popularity on Sunday as the later secured 4.7% in the first round of the French election. It is high likely that Marine Le Pen will have decreased the difference with Emmanuelle Macron as the latest polls were conducted before the announcement of this alliance.

Top priority: France or EU?

Time is pressing both candidates who are having a live televised debate today. French people are left to decide which choice is best for them and for France; Macron or Le Pen? Will Monday be the same? Is Macron going to bring something new to the country and boost the economy? Will he put France as his top concern?

Are people voting out of frustration?

The main issue is whether French people vote because they believe on Emmanuelle Macron and his plan or because they fear of the populist views of Marine Le Pen and a possible Frexit.

All in all, it seems that EU people, especially the young ones, are dissatisfied with their politicians and are looking for newly-fresh personalities imaging that they are going to deal with the plaguing issues of their countries and promote its interests to the Old Continent more effectively.

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