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Lessons from the France’s presidential election

The French presidential run-off election between the incumbent President of the En Marche movement, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the far right was…

The French presidential run-off election between the incumbent President of the En Marche movement, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the far right was concluded on Sunday with the incumbent President winning by 58.8 per cent while his opponent of the Nationalist Rally polled 41.2 per cent. 

Marine Le Pen, who was contesting the French Presidency for the third time bettered her 2017 result  by 7.3 per cent as her acceptance voting ratio jumped from 33.90 in 2017 to 41.2 in 2022 while the incumbent president’s 2017 triumphant entry result in 2017 also diminish by 7.3 per cent as his acceptance ratio dropped from 66.10 in 2017 to 58.8 in 2022.

Absolutely, both candidates are rewarded by the electorate in line with their blueprints presented during the electioneering period. The En Marche movement of Macron focused its campaign on maintaining the unity of the French people, environmental issues and consolidating on economic reforms to benefit the people while the Far right campaign’s fulcrum was centered on critically addressing the rising cost of living, French-first policies, which discard the right to citizenship through birth in France and the banning of headscarves for Muslim females.

The Foreign policy campaign blueprint of the candidates is however the decider of the election. Emmanuel Macron wants improved relations with Western countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States including the French position in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Marine Le Pen, on the other hand, differed. She said if elected, she intends to pull France out of the military alliance of NATO, maintain close relations with Russia and also diminish France’s contribution to the European Union.

Immediately the polling result was out, Le Pen conceded and instead saw victory in her defeat, declaring that her party remained the one to beat in the June parliamentary elections. Macron on the other hand was magnanimous in victory and promised to look into the grievances why abstention voting is high and why some of his supporters voted for his opponent. 

The French presidential election once again reflects how elections should be won and lost including how democracy should work, which is not apparent in many developing countries in Africa yet. 

While Nigeria’s presidential election holds next year, the principle of the meritocracy of prospective candidates and the battle of ideas  is not the subject of discussion yet but primordial ethnic sentiments and geo-political configuration of where the Presidency should be zoned to. 

It is imperative for Nigerians to understand that if the values displayed in the  French presidential election are to transpire here, it is for the people to decide themselves what they want by setting the standards and not falling for the tricks of politicians.

Moshood Olajide is a Policy Analyst and can be reached via moshoododunayoolajidemoshood@gmail.com