Macron’s Reelection Bid Just Got More Complicated

Macron’s Reelection Bid Just Got More Complicated
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech next to a screen reading “Our Presidential Project for France” during a presidential campaign news conference, Aubervilliers, France, March 17, 2022 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

French President Emmanuel Macron is comfortably ahead in the polls for the first round of France’s presidential election, which takes place Sunday. With far-right candidate Marine Le Pen likely to finish second, the second-round runoff is shaping up to be a repeat of 2017.

But while Macron won in a landslide in 2017 with more than 60 percent of the vote, this time the gap is much narrower, with less than 10 percent separating Macron and Le Pen in opinion polls and the momentum clearly in Le Pen’s favor.

Macron came into office on an ambitious and popular foreign policy agenda that portrayed the European Union not as a problem, but as a solution, particularly to the pressures France faces as a result of globalization. But Macron has often struggled to communicate his vision to the French electorate, even as he suffers from his image of being detached from the population’s everyday problems, especially the spiraling cost of living.

On this week’s episode of Trend Lines, Célia Belin, a visiting fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe, joins Peter Dörrie to discuss how foreign policy is intersecting with electoral politics in France’s presidential election, and what a possible second term for Macron—or a first term for Le Pen—might look like.


Download: MP3


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Relevant articles on WPR:

Monsieur Fixit (by Célia Belin in Foreign Affairs)

The Making of Macron’s Worldview

For Macron, Being Right on European Strategic Autonomy Isn’t Enough

France’s Security Law Debacle Shows the Dangers of Macron’s ‘Le Pen-Lite’ Agenda

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.  

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