While the mainstream media and those who relish the prospect of living in a society best represented by the image of “a military boot stamping down on a human face, forever” (George Orwell, 1984,) are celebrating the victory of the global elite’s office boy, Emmanuel Macron, in the French presidential election and proclaiming the death of nationalism, another, potentially more significant, story has emerged from the voting statistics.
Though the former Goldman Sachs executive Macron won easily in terms of the number of votes cast for each candidate, the largest number of votes, in a situation reminiscent of the movie Brewster’s Millions, a majority of French voters cast their vote for ‘none of the above,’ by declining to choose either centrist Emmanuel Macron or Front National leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s presidential election. They preferred to either abstaining by returning a blank voting paper or spoiling their ballots.
According to election officials the abstention rate stood at 24.52 percent — the highest since the presidential election in 1969. Additionally the interior ministry reported a record number of blank and invalid ballots, amounting to nine percent of all registered voters, compared to two percent in the first round.
“That would make a total of one French person out of three who decided not to choose between the two candidates. It’s really a lot for a presidential election,” Anne Jadot, political science professor at the University of Lorraine, told AFP.
Macron’s victory on Sunday was by a large margin, he took approximately 65 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s 35 percent, but don’t forget that is 65% of 66%. It was also the first time since the 1969 election that participation in the second round has been lower than in the first. And that does not take into account the people who simply did not register a vote at all.
“The presence of the far-right in the second round did not prompt a lot of mobilisation compared to the first round, in contrast to what happened in 2002,” Jadot said in reference to the election in which Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie saw voters of all parties unite to block him by backing his opponent Jacques Chirac.
This year, “there wasn’t the ‘shock’ effect, because (Marine Le Pen’s) presence was expected,” according to Jadot.
The large numbers of voters choosing not to participate shows that while France has rejected Le Pen as it’s president, the anti establishment pushback is far from over, add the supporters of Le Pen’s anti – EU, nationalist candidacy to the ‘none of the above’ vote and a huge majority have rejected the pro – EU, pro – immigration line of France’s political establishment.
Looks like M. Marcron is going to have a rough ride, assuming that he lasts the course.
This is a couple of days late, my previous article on the French election has been hanging around on the front page so I decided to hold off for a while
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