Macron, 39, celebrated a resounding electoral victory and showed that France wants an alternative to the previously established politics. The young President-elect was unknown in the country’s political scene in the last three years. However, he founded his own independent political party just a year ago.
According to a French politics professor at Aston University, Jim Shields, the image of a young Macron has enabled him to secure the presidential seat. To Shields, Macron is far from being an outsider. Instead, he’s an archetypal insider from the fact that he has been on one of the most privileged educational institutions in France. Also, being a banker, Macron turned into a government minister and a technocrat.
Born in Amiens, northern part of France, Macron came from a wealthy family as his parents were both doctors. In his hometown, he studied at a Jesuit college and then transferred to Paris to enroll in an elite school. Then, he studied philosophy at another university before he completed his post-graduate studies. François Hollande, the outgoing president, and Macron both attended the same prestigious school during their post-graduate studies.
Former Protege of Hollande
For years, Hollande made Macron his protege. Macron first worked as a banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque. After four years, Hollande made him a senior staff member with the title of deputy secretary general.
In 2014, Macron was finally appointed as an economy minister. Last year, he established En Marche but the move was considered as an act of disloyalty to his former mentor. In August of 2016, he resigned. Just months after his resignation, he formally announced that he is bidding for the presidency and that he would run on messages of globalization, democratic revolution, and hope.
To Macron, the political movement is neither right nor left. Rather, En Marche is an attempt to change the political system of the country. He criticized the French political system for being run predominantly by massive interest groups.
The former investment banker chose to promote both socially liberal and pro-business policies, which provided him the centrist appeal that other candidates were lacking. The opponents of Macron criticized him for running even though he was a political novice. They even pointed out that Macron backed unpopular measures during his time in the government. Those measures included “Macron Law,” a law that allowed more establishments to cater to customers on Sundays.
Way back in 2007, he tied the knot with Brigitte Trogneux, his former drama teacher. Brigitte Trogneux is 24 years older than Macron. The two met when Macron was still a teenager. Trogneux was also married at that time.
In an interview with Paris Match magazine, Trogneux said that Emmanuel told her at the age of 17 that he will marry her someday “regardless of what she does.”
The victory of Macron last Sunday over the anti-EU, far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, has been considered as good news by the supporters of Macron, French liberals, and by EU members. The European Union watched the election carefully as they feared that if Le Pen won, it would be a huge blow to the economic and political union, especially since they are still dealing with the planned departure of the UK.
“The program of Macron is embedded to the European project. Macron is among the few leaders in Europe who have been campaigning on pro-European objectives,” said University lecturer, Françoise Boucek, in an interview with ABC News. “People can now settle down a bit. The business runs as usual.”
To many, Macron is seen as a dedicated and committed Europeanist as he believes that the EU has to be preserved and deepened at the same time.
Shields said that the President-elect argued that the Eurozone has to hold its own finance and budget minister. Shields added that the time he was impressed with Macron was when he learned about Macron’s approach to NATO in terms of the country’s wider international role. Macron wanted to continue the participation of France in NATO. As for Marine Le Pen, she put forward a more isolationist proposal.
Macron has limited time to celebrate due to the myriads of challenges that lie ahead.
Most people chose to vote Macron because they did not like the alternative. There were also many who that did not vote at all. The voter turnout has been the lowest since 1969 which was estimated at 74%.
“Macron also needs to deal with the people who voted against him and supported Marine Le Pen instead. However, that does not end there because he also needs to deal with those who wasted their votes to protest against the presidential candidates,” exclaimed Shields.
Macron also needs to do some preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections as that could have an impact on the success of his presidency. Amongst his campaign promises were to create more jobs and improve the economy. According to Macron, he will do so through the reforms. If Macron’s party doesn’t win by a majority in June, achieving his goals may be extremely difficult.
“There is a chance that the reform ambitions of Macron to France will be scaled back if he fails to provide a victory to his party. If this is the case, he’ll become just another President that has been elected by promising a reform only to be given the chance to manage the status quo,” declared Shields.
Rebooting the economy of France is the most important task that Macron wants to take on. It’s entirely likely that he won’t get a majority win in June’s election. He’ll also have to arrange a coalition government.
With the labor reform, Macron plans to do it by decree if there is a need for it. However, that would certainly get certain people out on the street.