The World Is Changing: France Speaks Up

May 15, 2017

Elections around the world are being closely watched, and for good reason. Last year, two major elections resulted in surprise outcomes: the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU) and the United States voted for Donald Trump for President, a candidate who had no prior experience in politics. As more elections loom, the world is watching to see who (and what) will win out in the end.

Here at Xyza, we’ve been following the French presidential election. Read on for a breakdown of what happened:
French Election: l’express Le Kid, headline by Lorie Shaull via @Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

April: And Then There Were Two

There were 11 candidates in the running for the position of President of France. On April 23rd, only two were chosen to head into the presidential runoff election : Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. Ms. Le Pen was born into politics (her father was the leader of the National Front party—the party that she later led herself), studied and practiced law, and believed that France would be better off leaving the EU and closing its doors to immigrants. Mr. Macron was a banker, an Economy Minister, and is a relatively unknown person in the world of politics. Just over a year ago, he formed a political movement called en Marche! (or Forward!). This movement was meant to bring together both the left and the right (or those who believe in two very different types of government), making France an even stronger and better country. He campaigned on the idea of bringing France together by having a stronger presence in the EU and putting a plan in place to jumpstart the French economy with incentives for businesses.
French Election: Celebrations for Macron’s victory at The Louvre by Lorie Shaull via @Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

May: The French Say Oui! to Macron

On May 7th, approximately 66% of the people who cast their ballots chose Emmanuel Macron to be their next president. Vive La France! Vive La France! That chant, meaning, “Long Live France!” could be heard throughout the crowd that had gathered in front of the Louvre Museum (an iconic Paris museum) on the night of the election. It was the sound of pride from those who had supported Emmanuel Macron while they patiently waited to see their new president make his victory speech. Blasting through the speakers as Mr. Macron walked in to make his speech was Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the official anthem of the European Union. With that, Mr. Macron made his first mark as the next President of France.

Seven days later, Macron was inaugurated into office as the youngest President of France. In his speech he said, “The time has come for France to meet the challenges of our time. The divisions and fractures that run through our society must be overcome, whether they be economic, social, political or moral.”