French Election: Macron and Le Pen Face Runoff

    Photo: Reuters [via Evening Standard]

    The Facts

    • The centrist incumbent president, Emmanuel Macron, and the nationalist-populist candidate, Marine Le Pen, will compete in a runoff on Apr. 24, marking a rematch of the 2017 election.

    • Macron achieved roughly 28% of the first-round vote on Sun., while Le Pen garnered about 23%. Leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon came third with 22%, unexpectedly close to Le Pen.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    The stability of French politics depends on the victory of Macron. Le Pen would risk severing ties with European allies and pushing ruinous extremist and xenophobic policies, such as restricting Muslims' rights to wear headscarves in public. Her prioritizing of French living standards over imposing sanctions on Russia could jeopardize French standing on the global stage.

    Right narrative

    Despite Macron's attempts to depict Le Pen as an anti-immigrant extremist, her recognition of the economic and social pressures faced by French voters have made her a real threat to the current president's potential second term. She is no longer a one-note candidate, but a rounded politician, whose victory could prompt radical changes to the landscape of European politics.

    Narrative C

    This divisive and polarizing election process is a reflection of not only the state of French politics, but also the fundamental flaws of French democracy. Whilst voting systems in the country may be scrupulously fair, the candidate selection process allows politicians to fail upwards for decades. How candidates emerge for election is a mysterious process that often presents voters with a fait accompli winner among less impressive options.

    Nerd narrative

    According to the Metaculus prediction community, there is a 79% chance that Macron will be re-elected president of France in 2022.

    Political split



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