There was not much cheer, even if a sigh of relief was heard across Europe: incumbent Emmanuel Macron secured a second – and final – term as president of France with 58 per cent. But over the next five years, she’ll be faced with harsh winds: frustrated Melenchon voters, frustrated youth, and angry Le Pen supporters.
Macron: The lesser of two evils
The big questions of the time – environmental protection, the climate crisis, education policy, the distribution of wealth – are considered unanswered by many. About 500 cultural workers publicly voted for Macron in the run-off — but primarily to block President Le Pen, who would have pushed France too far to the political right. This was also commented on by the ZDF Today satire on Twitter:
Director Frank Casente, who lives in the south of France, takes a similar view. “I’m not at all happy with the election result,” Cassenti told DW. “It wasn’t a real choice for me, neither for one nor the other, and certainly not for Le Pen.” He is shocked by the state of his homeland, by the sheer numbers of the National Rally. “More than 40 percent voted for such backward ideas.”
Macron paves the way for Le Pen?
Casente lived through the Algerian war as a young man, seeing Marine Le Pen in the direct imitation of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. They themselves, who have modeled him as a bogeyman, but have not acted decisively against him: “The far right’s share of the vote has been rising steadily for years. If things continue like this, mathematically speaking, they will win next time if we don’t do any something now.”
France is a divided country in 2022.
French sociologist and author Kauthar Hartchi criticizes more than the last five years of the president: “Emmanuel Macron’s policies were not a barrier, they were a kind of ladder for the ideas of right-wing extremists.” Hartchi argues that by addressing their debates, he legitimized them – the positions of Marine Le Pen and the positions of the nationalist camp.
“We are divided between two feelings: on the one hand, there is anger, exhaustion, and weariness at this constant return. But there is also a certain hope and expectation: that a different society is possible, a different social order, and France is different.” Except for Macron.
Criticism of Macron’s cultural policy
Macron’s cultural and political achievements have been criticized in many places during the election campaign – for example his “Pass Culturel”, which has been available since January 2022: young people aged 15-17 receive a kind of voucher worth 300 euros for a limited time with opportunities cultural for two years.
He did – and he has a lot to do.
“This marketing is exactly the problem, only a banker can think of such a thing,” Frank Casenti says. “At the same time, we don’t have any musical instruments in schools, only these little flutes. Instead, he should equip every school with a piano again. Schools must be opened – for dance schools, for theater. Then the young people come back with their parents talking about culture “.
European artists celebrate Le Pen’s defeat
Latvian screenwriter, journalist and writer Michael Edoff, who co-wrote the screenplay for “Leto” (directed by Kirill Serebnikov) and now lives in Berlin, tweeted about Putin’s “strategic genius”:
“It must be nice to live in a democracy,” Russian-American journalist Julia Lovi commented on Twitter. The author of Russia Girl: Memoirs of a Russian Soul is a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
German commentators also expressed relief with humor:
Frank Casente now hopes that France’s left-wing parties will unite – and win parliamentary elections. And Macron may still be able to change — now that there is no further re-election pending.
Culture ‘a bulwark against the counter-enlightenment’
From the filmmakers’ perspective, culture is the way to overcome social divisions that have become increasingly evident in recent years: “Culture is the first and last bulwark against this hostility to education. I believe in that, and that’s what I’m fighting for.” However, it’s a long way to go. Let’s cut it – and it should be right Now Starting.