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The first round of 2022 presidential elections took place on April 10. There were twelve candidates in the contest including the current president Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Eric Zemmour, Yannick Jadot, Valérie Pécresse, Jean Lassalle, Fabien Roussel, Anne Hidalgo, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Philippe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud. The results were announced at 8 pm. Emmanuel Macron topped the list with 27.84% of votes, Marine Le Pen came second with 23.15% of votes followed closely by Jean-Luc Mélanchon with 21.95% of votes.
After the announcement of the results, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), a traditional leftist, called on his voters not to vote for Marine Le Pen in any circumstances. Valérie Pécresse, the candidate from the right, The Republicans, appealed to her voters to vote for Emmanuel Macron, so did Anne Hidalgo of the Socialist Party and Yannick Jadot of Europe Ecology – The Greens. On the other hand, Eric Zemmour and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, both representing the extreme right-wing camp, declared their support for Marine Le Pen.
According to the statistics, the French between 18 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years voted mostly for Jean-Luc Mélenchon whose election manifesto, A Different World is possible, focussed on betterment of living conditions of common people, like increase in minimum wages, bringing back retirement age to 60, intensive investment in public service institutions especially hospitals along with the proposition to move the French State towards the 6th Republic for a real democracy (Citizens’ initiative referendum -RIC, dismissal of elected representatives) and new rights in the Constitution (right to control over one’s own body, right to die with dignity).
The second round took place on April 24, 2022. Emmanuel Macron is re-elected with 59% of the votes and Marine Le Pen collected 41% of the votes. In spite of popular discontentment against Emmanuel Macron due to his neo-liberal economic policy, tax cut for the riches and raising retirement age from 62 to 65, he came out victorious as a result of common good sense of the majority of the French electorate who rejected the extreme right-wing programmes of Marine Le Pen based on anti-European Union rhetoric, anti-immigration, racism and xenophobia. Although her significant progress in narrowing the margin of votes shows gradual change in French society which is hailed globally for its inclusiveness being multiethnic and multicultural. Therefore, Emmanuel Macron has to carry much more responsibility to address the discontentment of the population than his first term as president as his election in 2017 is regarded as a watershed in French politics being a young and energetic leader of a newly founded political movement of “neither left nor right”, unknown to the French population at that period of time.
The programme of his second term as president will largely depend on the outcome of the election of the lower house of the French Parliament which is scheduled on June 12, 2022 (first round) and June 19, 2022 (second round). Last time, blurring the left–right divide, his party managed an overwhelming majority by winning 308 seats out of 577 parliamentary seats. But the growing clout of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen in the French political scenario will definitely change the existing composition and put pressure on the political and the economic agenda of Emmanuel Macron.