Nick Jones looks at some of the responses from the French left to the Presidential election results tonight
The far right allies of the Front National have little to celebrate this evening as yet another country rejects the politics of division and hate.
The latest election analysis from Ipsos Sopra Steria suggests a strong vote against Le Pen with 43% of Emmanuel Macron’s supporters stating that they did not vote for Macron but voted against Marine Le Pen. Only 16% said that they voted positively for him and for his programme.
The National Front under Le Pen did pick up votes from the ‘discontented’. Only 30% of her voters stated they were convinced by her programme and 22% stated it was a vote against Macron.
In France it is possible to make a positive abstention on your ballot paper and more than 4 million voters did this and rejected both candidates by voting ‘blanc’. Over half of them stating that they rejected the choice between ‘the plague or cholera’.
For many socialists the choice was clear. Myriam Martin, spokesperson for the radical anti-capitalist left group Ensemble ! Front de Gauche stated:
“The election of Marine Le Pen will mean the end of the rule of law, hunting down foreigners and immigrants, the persecution of left-wing activists and trade unionists. The implementation of a reactionary program, turning the clock back for all and especially for women.”
The left will give Macron no rest and will be opposing his attacks on workers’ rights, privatisation and austerity.
Pierre Laurent, General Secretary of the French Communist Party (PCF), sees little to celebrate in the defeat of Le Pen. Far right ideas have penetrated French society and Le Pen increased the Front National vote by 14% in the second round. The PCF is determined to seize the opportunity posed by the French General Election on June 8th to forge a movement to defeat Macron’s attacks on the welfare state, sixty billion Euro cuts in public services and sacking 120,000 local government workers and civil servants. In a welcome move they are calling for maximum unity and propose choosing candidates in each electoral district who have the best chance of defeating the right.
The 7 million votes for the ‘France Insoumise’ (Defiant France) movement headed by the Presidential Candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon with over 500,000 supporters combined with the PCF, Front de Gauche could be a real game changer in France and help turn the tide of reaction. The Front National is seeking to relaunch itself as a centre-right organisation ahead of the General Election in a bid to lose the negative publicity surrounding it’s fascist origins. They present a clear and present danger in France and I hope that the left can unite around candidates and take their battles onto the streets to defeat them.
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