At the end of last week, it was announced that Emmanuel Macron won the French Presidential election, claiming 58.6% of the vote against Marine Le Pen.
Macron said he would be a “president for all”, however, will he achieve this and what will he tackle in the first months of his renewed presidency?
The cost of living
Like in the UK and elsewhere, France is facing a cost-of-living crisis due to high inflation, the war in Ukraine, the post-pandemic economy and other factors. Marine Le Pen’s campaign heavily focussed on measures to tackle this, so Macron will be looking to appease the whole spectrum of French voters by making it a priority.
Macron’s government has already introduced financial help to some industries and has frozen gas and electricity prices until June. However, more will likely be brought in over the coming weeks. This could involve scrapping the TV licence for a year, or a means-tested food allowance for low-income families.
A large part of Macron’s campaign pledge was based on pensions. He had previously made reforms to simplify the system, including removing certain pension regimes that allowed some workers to retire at the early age of 55. These reforms were passed in parliament, but the implementation was postponed due to Covid.
So, Macron now wants to ensure that his reforms are implemented. He also wishes to change the retirement age in France from 62 to 65, which has not been welcomed by many. When questioned on the campaign trail, he seemed to suggest that the decision on this could be put to a public vote.
Forming a government
Macron now needs to focus on winning parliamentary elections to ensure that he can pass legislation during his presidency. The elections are due to take place on June 12 and June 19.
Many of Macron’s political opponents are calling on voters to deny him a parliamentary majority, due to some controversial pro-business policies. However, the polls say that he is set to win a ruling majority. Either way, these elections will set the tone for France’s political landscape over the next five years.
President Macron’s inauguration ceremony will take place before May 13 at the Elysee Palace. It is the first time in 20 years that a governing French President has been re-elected, so this has been a huge victory for Macron.
Despite this, Le Pen achieved the highest ever score for the far right in a French Presidential election and as Macron has acknowledged himself, many voted for him simply to stop Le Pen. He will, therefore, need to ensure he does everything in his power to secure a majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections.