Vive Le Centre? Macron’s Fight Is Only Just Beginning

Despite the palpable relief at the result in Brussels, Macron’s margin victory was in fact uncomfortably small.
French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves to the crowd at the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7. Emmanuel Macron was elected French president in a resounding victory over far-right National Front rival Marine Le Pen after a deeply divisive campaign.
05_19_France_02 Source: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty

It was the day the world didn’t end; the day that the tide of populism that gave the world Brexit and Donald Trump turned; the moment when French voters chose pragmatism over protest. That, at least, was the judgement of Europe’s establishment at the victory of centrist Emmanuel Macron in the May 7 French presidential election.

It’s not hard to see why the defeat of the Euroskeptic, anti-immigration Marine Le Pen was so vital to the West’s future. A victory for Le Pen’s far-right National Front party would likely have heralded the disintegration of the European Union and the end of the continent’s grand experiment with open borders. And it would have caused a deep crisis in a world order based on free trade, mass migration and globalization—precisely the forces that Le Pen’s insurgent campaign blamed for France’s ills.

Macron—a former economy minister and relative political unknown before he launched his surprise centrist-insurgent bid for the presidency last November—stormed into the Elysée Palace by a decisive 66

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