The return to power by French President Emmanuel Macron is commendable as he won by a reasonable margin of 58 per cent. He won his second term against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen, who proved that she was no pushover. Allowance has to be made for the fact that the president got some votes only because the voters did not want to take a risk with Le Pen at the helm. In other words, he won more out of the fear of the risk than of the groundswell of support he enjoys. Of course, the stand he took on the Ukraine war, his management of the economy, and his faith in European unity helped him to win. Macron faces a bigger challenge in the parliamentary elections due in June. There is no guarantee that his party La République En Marche (LREM) will get a majority. That is why many consider this as a pyrrhic victory, as there is the likelihood of the far-right and the Left consolidating their positions much to his discomfort. Some of those on the Left who did not want Le Pen to succeed found supporting him in the presidential elections. They would like Macron to have a tougher time managing the contradictions that are bound to surface in the National Assembly. The president, who is a centrist, is not particularly popular among the people, especially the powerful working class, because of his pro-reform policies. He is a firm believer in free enterprise and does not want the state to bear burdens other than those of managing the overall economy and foreign policy.
As President, he eased France's rules to hire and fire workers and made it harder to get unemployment benefits. Critics have accused him of destroying worker protections. However, during the pandemic, he acknowledged the crucial role of the state in supporting the economy, spending massively, and vowing to support employees and businesses via public aid “whatever it costs”. This singularly made him dearer to the people. His frantic bids to broker a deal between Ukraine and Russia and thereby avert a war could also not have been lost sight of by the French people. His re-election has brought about a measure of stability in the otherwise rocky region.
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