THE RESULT of the French presidential election on Sunday saw the right-wing Emmanuel Macron winning with 58.54% of the vote, beating the leader of the neo-fascist National Rally Party Marine Le Pen who secured 41.46%.
The number of abstentions in the election was 28%, the highest ever recorded since 1969.
Over one in three voters did not vote for either candidate and the overall turnout of voters was under 72%.
Over three million cast spoilt or blank votes in a massive show of rejection for both candidates.
Macron has been feverishly campaigning over the last two weeks to try to convince French workers and youth that he is not the ‘president of the rich’, by promising to dedicate the next five years to restoring France to full employment.
Workers however have not forgotten that Macron’s policy to increase employment was to reverse all the employment laws protecting workers from being sacked at will by the employers.
Nor have they forgotten that Macron entered the election race promising to increase the retirement age, introduce tuition fees for university students, and take measures to force those on benefits into work.
With thousands protesting in the streets and students occupying the Sorbonne university in the run-up to Sunday’s election – a two-horse race between the right-wing Macron and the extreme right-wing Le Pen – Macron deliberately chose not to campaign on his anti-labour laws but to concentrate on stopping what he called the ‘unthinkable’, that is, a victory for Le Pen.
Macron himself openly acknowledged this before the vote, saying: ‘If the French put their trust in me on April 24, I know full well … that there will be a part of the people who voted for me who would have done it to block the Front National,’ (Macron deliberately used the previous name of Le Pen’s party most closely associated with racist policies.)
Macron added: ‘And so it won’t mean they have given me a blank cheque and that they support and find brilliant every point of my programme.’
Macron is acutely aware that he owes his election victory not to the support of French workers and youth but to the massive abstentions, the biggest since 1969, and the votes of those workers and youth who voted to keep Le Pen out.
7.7 million voted for the left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of presidential voting, and he narrowly missed out, by a few percentage points, defeating Le Pen and standing against Macron.
These voters were torn between voting for the ‘bankers’ candidate’ or abstaining, and it was this that gave Macron his victory.
In a speech on Sunday night, Jean-Luc Mélenchon said: ‘Monsieur Macron is the worst elected president of the Fifth Republic. His presidential monarchy survives by default.’
Macron’s presidential survival on Sunday was a pyrrhic victory. He faces a determined working class that is refusing to submit to their lives being shattered by the economic crisis that is driving the cost of living through the roof in France and throughout Europe.
Macron, despite his promises of legislation to cap energy bills and to curb cost of living increases, has also pledged to increase spending on the war by NATO against Russia.
The working class and youth in France will be expected to bear the cost of capitalist crisis and imperialist war by the ‘president of the rich’ – and they will not stand for it.
Macron’s previous presidency saw the massive growth in the Yellow Vest movement with hundreds of thousands of workers and young people rising up against austerity inflicted on them by a capitalist system that is collapsing into recession.
The presidential election has confirmed that French workers have had enough of the right-wing bourgeois and fascist parties by abstaining or reluctantly voting to keep the fascists out.
There has never been a better time to build revolutionary sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in France and throughout Europe to lead the struggle of workers and youth to put an end to bankrupt capitalism through the victory of the French socialist revolution and going forward to a Socialist United States of Europe.