Here they are again face to face. As in 2017, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen found themselves in the second round of the 2022 presidential election. Five years later, the context has changed a lot.
Even if participation this year is lower than in 2017, one, like the other, will appear this Sunday evening as the main political forces of the country. With a score of around 28% in the first rounds, Emmanuel Macron scored almost four points compared to his first round result five years ago (24.01%). For her part, Marine Le Pen will get a slightly higher result than in the first round of 2017, when she scored 21.30%.
Macron has something to defend, Le Pen continues his transformation
But as the second round duel approaches, the biggest change is undoubtedly Emmanuel Macron’s posture. In 2017, he had the image of a former economy minister who turned his back on the very unpopular François Hollande and managed to fund his campaign in a year, raising almost 16 million euros in donations. Today, the former Rothschild banker is primarily an outgoing president. As a result, he has something to defend, and it is on this point that his opponent will attack him during the debate between the two rounds, scheduled for April 20th. This five-year term in office could also create a form of “anti-Macronian” runoff voting, similar to the one that proved fatal to Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.
For her part, Marine Le Pen also continued the transformation. After her father’s expulsion from the party in 2015, she decided in 2018 to change the name of the “National Front” to “National Rally”. The far-right candidate has also taken advantage of the candidacy of Eric Zemmour to pursue her “demonization” strategy. A polemicist who puts herself on an even more right line, she regularly opposed his positions, for example, about accepting Ukrainian refugees and leaving the Reconquista candidate! tolerate attacks on themes of identity while she talked about purchasing power.
Macron adjusts his method, Le Pen his program
Thanks to his victory with more than two-thirds of the vote (66.10%) in 2017, the presidential candidate presents a project for 2022 that remains true to whoever elected him. However, he promises “new method” management, translated by the slogan “with you” which he promoted throughout his campaign. But even as he topped 30% of the vote in the polls at the start of the war in Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron constantly reminded us that “nothing won”.
Because in terms of ideas, Marine Le Pen has learned the lessons of her failure. The abandonment of the euro and the return to the franc disappeared from her program, and she revised her text about retiring at 60. The RN candidate now advocates possible retirement at age 60 for those with 40 annual dues; for the rest, everything would depend on the age at which they started working. On immigration, she also proposes a much more advanced draft, with the text of the law already prepared, which she intends to submit to a referendum if elected.
The debate between the two rounds, the key moment in the elections?
So, on paper, Marine Le Pen has additional advantages, but the debate between the two rounds will be an important meeting. In 2017, the exercises immediately turned into a squabble, preventing substantive discussion. “Goodwill was replaced by slander, a learned smile turned into a smirk, the minion of the system and the elite dropped the mask”she attacked. “You are the heir to a name, a political party, a system that thrives on the wrath of the French. What you are carrying is the spirit of defeat.”returned Emmanuel Macron to him. Faced with an aggressive and sleazy Frontist candidate who sometimes confused his papers, the one who was supposed to become President of the Republic proved to be the most technical, pitting his pragmatic decisions against “Pullimpine Powder” which he said the far-right candidate was proposing.
This debate undoubtedly made it difficult for Marine Le Pen to persuade voters who did not vote for her in the first round to join her. Between the first and second rounds, it rose from 7.6 to 10.6 million votes, while Emmanuel Macron took advantage of the “Republican dam” and increased from 8.6 to 20.7 million votes. All the challenges of the next two weeks will fall on the shoulders of the two finalists: to be able to gather as widely as possible.