4 min read
French Elections: Voices In The Crowd

For our April edition, we asked French citizens with different backgrounds to give their opinions on both rounds of the French presidential election and to share with Platform their voting preferences. A high degree of political abstention characterized the recent election, so it is unsurprising many of our respondents abstained as well. Those that did vote, were not thrilled with their candidates, but voted for them to prevent an even worse choice. Many of the respondents were skeptical things would change to any significant degree, as a result of this election.

Question 1: Did you vote in the presidential elections and if so, who did you vote for and why?

Hubert: I voted in both elections and I split my votes. My first vote was for a moderate right winger named Valerie Precresse, for mainly two reasons. The first is because security is becoming more and more a problem and I support her security policies. The second reason is that she is Pro-Europe and which is pretty rare for a right wing candidate, but she had no chance of winning.

Raphy: No I didn’t vote, but I would have backed Macron 100%.Yes he hasn’t been amazing but I like him. Plus he’s a friend of the Jews, has been good with Israel (for French standards), and isn’t a Neo Nazi.

Anton: I did vote, and it was for Emmanuel Macron.

Ruben: When the Fifth Republic came into being in France the day after WWII, General De Gaulle conferred the President to be « la clé de voûte des Institutions » [the keystone of the institutions]. In other words, France is a presidential monarchy yet a stable political structure. Five years ago, the French people woke up with an hangover: the historic extreme-right xenophobic and antisemitic party « Rassemblement National » led by Marine le Pen reached the second round of the presidential elections. One would argue that it is the natural aftermath of ten years under President Sarkozy and Hollande. Although France is historically a politically right-wing country, one would not have expected the popularity for the far-right that was seen in 2022.Éric Zemmour, a French journalist and polemicist coming from an Algerian Jewish family, launched an extreme-right political party. He did gather 7% in the first round, 2 million voters. In other words, more than the traditional Democrat and Republican party. As the political scene in France is about to change, none of us can predict what will be the outcome of the legislative election in two months while the extreme-left leader (not less dangerous than Marine Le Pen) is striving to gather voices to be appointed Prime Minister.Thus, I voted for the 2nd time in a presidential election (first one was when I turned 18 in 2017). I voted for the re-election of Emmanuel Macron for five more years because of recent developments on the international stage and the COVID crisis.

Ilan: I didn't vote for the simple reason that I’m living abroad and I am not so updated about French politics. I also got all my official mail at my parents home, so I didn’t get my voting card. Theoretically I’d have voted for Macron, I think he's doing a fine job.

Herzel: I didn't vote in either round.

Pierre: Yes, I voted in the French Presidential Election. For the first round I voted for Eric Zemmour, because of massive legal and illegal immigration that generate an insecurity. Also, immigration is a danger for the French Social System. For example, when I was in school, our teacher told us about how we have the world's best health systems but now we have to pay for medicine that we would never think that we would have to pay for, ten years ago. Indeed, when a person needs care in France, it is given, regardless if he or she is legal or not or is contributing to the system by paying taxes or not.

Johan: I didn’t vote. I am registered back in my home city, but I live outside of France, and I did not register to vote from abroad. As I believe it will be business as usual and I will get disappointed, I choose not to put hopes in the election and to care about it as little as possible.

Question 2: Did you vote in both rounds and did your vote change?

Ilan: Hypothetically, I’d have voted for Macron for both rounds, since he is to me the most balanced of all the candidates, the rest of the presidential candidates had far more extreme political opinions.

Herzel: *see answer 1.

Raphy: I would have voted for Macron in both rounds.

Pierre: Because Zemmour lost in the first round, I voted for Macron (Otherwise I would still vote for Zemmour, had he had won the first round) because Le Pen is a Nazi, disguised as the Mother of the People. Not only that, but her advisor Frederic Chatillon is a dedicated Nazi that is close to Putin and Assad. Also Le Pen contracted a € 9 million loan in 2014 or 2015 to the First Czech-Russian bank, which is close to Putin. The bank told her that she didn’t need to give back the loan and I'm scared that it is a manipulation maneuver to control France. As a Patriot, I won’t sell my country for € 9 million and as a Jew I will never, ever, vote for a Nazi.

Anton: My vote didn't change and I voted in both rounds.

Ruben: Considering the elements above and that I will never vote for an extreme-right party, I can only state that I voted for Emanuel Macron for both rounds.

Johan: I didn’t vote in either round. If I voted and thought of myself, I would have voted for Macron, because his economic program aligned with my interest. Mélenchon and Le Pen would raise more taxes on me and the upper class. If I was concerned about France and the French, I would vote for Mélenchon or Le Pen. Their programs are more social, and would bring more equality to a society which would help its unity. The recent turmoil (protests against labor laws in 2016, yellow vests in 2018-19, truck drivers (who, in France, had the purchasing power as their first claim in 2022) have been brought about by economic inequality. They are social crises.

Hubert: Yes I voted in both rounds. I changed my vote to Emmanuel Macron for the 2nd round to block extremism, but I’m not happy with his security policies.

Question 3: Do you expect there to be any serious change as a result of the French elections or will it be business as usual?

Ruben: French democracy is sick. The welfare state is sick. The only mark of well-being for democracy in France, remains the elections. I am sadly convinced that the legislative elections to be held in two months will not automatically give the majority to the presidential political bloc. We need to stay aware. Although President Macron won the presidential election with 58% of the voters, Marine Le Pen received 41% of the vote count which is tremendous for an extreme-right party in the country of the declaration of human rights. Finally, we need to mention that the first party in France are the abstainers: around 26%.

Hubert: I don't expect any big changes resulting from this election. I see it as business as usual.

Johan: I do not expect any change. If Le Pen was elected, she would likely slow down liberalization for five years before it was picked up again. We have seen that Tsípras, Podemos, or the Lega and the 5 Stars Movement have been unable to stop the liberalization reforms coming from the European Union.Macron strives for more liberalization. He is probably going to get re-elected, because a majority of people vote for him. I do not fully understand why, knowing that his policies are against the economic interest of the majority. Despite regularly protesting to voice their interests, people keep voting against them. This is the trend that I have observed so far, and I expect it to go on. Many expect someone to take charge of them and their interests, but are unwilling to take charge themselves.

Pierre: I think that Macron will be able to pursue his policies because right now he has the legislative majority. However, on June 12 and June 19, there will be new legislative elections that could harm Macron’s ability to pursue his policies, if he loses the majority. Personally, I will vote for Macron for both the second round of the presidential and legislative elections.

Anton: There are many things to change in France regarding ecology and employment. So I hope letting him do a 2nd residency in the Presidential palace will allow him the time to do what he is supposed to do, I guess!

Ilan: I expect things to stay the same. At the end of the day, most of the nation is too deeply traumatized from radicalism to accept more radical political changes. So, even if it seems that half of the people claim to be among one of the extremes, it is not a serious matter to worry about. We all know that the media tend to make speculations seem extreme, but I think it is just to increase their ratings. Plus, so many new immigrants came to France in the last couple decades that it will be numerically impossible to get a fully non-socialistic government. Even more, the right-wing voters are enjoying the social help from the government just as much as the left is, so it will be too hard for either of them to give that up.

Raphy: I haven’t been following French news and politics super closely, because I haven’t spent much time there over the past few years. Most of my family (although not all), has moved to either Israel or the US.

Herzel: I don't expect any serious changes, it will be business as usual.

* The email will not be published on the website.