We asked a Parisian to comment* on their feelings regarding En Marche! leader Emmanuel Macron’s recent win over Marine Le Pen in the hotly contested, decidedly non-traditional 2017 French election. Sophie, who prefers not to make her full name public, also gives insight into the general political climate in France.
My name is Sophie. I was born in Paris, lived in the countryside and have been back in Paris for 25 years now.
After Macron’s win, I feel relieved the Front National lost. A win would have been a disaster in many ways. I am not over-excited for Macron either, but he’s young, let’s give him a chance. Paris and the big cities are different from the countryside. The Front National scored really badly in Paris. In my neighborhood, which is popular and very diverse, Melenchon the candidate from the very left side won. In a way I am proud of my country, as we were very scared that Marine Le Pen may win, after what happened with Trump in the US.
This election was very strange. Usually it is the traditional left versus the traditional right – this year, both were kicked out at the first round. Macron is kind of new in politics, and he won. I think people are fed up of politics in the old way; there are scandals all the time, the old school way of doing politics seems over. I guess that was a part of Macron’s victory.
There is for sure a strong nationalist feeling among some people in France, but I don’t think it has to do with the recent terrorist attacks. Some people have more anger against modernisation and Europe, as they lost their jobs when industries relocate to cheaper countries and they think closing the borders will help. The refugee crisis is not helping, definitely. But again, Paris is the capital, full of people of different origins and religions, so it’s difficult to know the feeling outside the city.
Some media also exaggerate. As Parisians, we were laughing a lot about the ‘no-go zones’ in Paris. For Fox News, half of the city was a no-go zone. I live in a supposed one of them, and I feel completely safe – and it’s one of the nicest parts of the city.
I didn’t really expect much from this election. To be honest, I didn’t really follow it. I was pissed off that the main coverage was about corruption affairs, and some candidates having problems with justice. I even understand how they can run for presidency if they are involved in illegal things. Anyway, as those things were taking most of the public and media space, nobody talked about the policies and such.
I had no expectations for the outcome, I am just very happy that the extreme right is out. I am from the generation who participated in massive demonstrations in the street when the extreme right got through to the second round for the first time. Now it seems normal, and not so many people care, which is scary. I am also pleased that the candidate from the right that was using public money illegally for his own purposes is out. France definitely needs more checks on politicians. There is still a lot of corruption at this level.
I did vote in the first round, not in the second one. I won’t tell you for who, as it’s very personal, but be sure I voted against the extreme right and the corrupt candidates.
*As told to, and edited by, Sarah.