The second round of the French presidential election held on May, 7th has been followed widely all over the world. France is an important country with a seat in the G7 summit, it has important trade deals with several countries in the world, it is a recognized cultural reference, and, last but not least, France is a nuclear power with a permanent seat in the UN Security Council for all these reasons, this year’s presidential election has been followed widely around the globe, and moreover the interest toward this election raised as the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, was facing the 39 years old pro-Europe candidate Emmanuel Macron, leader of the new-born political movement En Marche.
Here we present some of the international reactions to the out-of-debate victory of Emmanuel Macron, taking into consideration the press of non-EU countries and excluding United States’ press too.
Russian news agency TASS covered French presidential election with several articles; of those article, one is focused more on the result in terms of percentage and ballots casted, while citing some of Macron’s declarations after the victory. Another article reports Vladimir Putin’s declarations on the result of the French presidential election, in which Russian President declares that ‘it is important to overcome mutual distrust and join efforts’ to deal with security threats and the challenges of the global agenda. In a third article, it is reported the declaration of a Russian MP, Vladimir Dzhabarov, that stated that Macron’s victory was predictable as the strongest – and pro-Russian – candidate François Fillon ‘was knocked out of the race by a wave of smear campaigning’. Dzhabarov stated also that ‘relations [between France and Russia] will go on developing despite Macron’s threatening statements in respect of Russia’.
In the Chinese principal media, Xinhua press, Macron’s victory is presented in various articles. In the first article parts of Macron’s victory speech are cited, while it is underlined that Marine Le Pen’s result has been historic, as it has been the first time for the Front Nationale to get more than 11 million votes, a third of the total votes casted and more than double than her father’s results in 2002. In another article, Xinhua press reports the message that Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent to the newly elected French president, message that focuses on the old ties between the two countries and expresses the hope for an even better future relationship between the two countries. Finally, a third article describes Macron’s presence alongside François Hollande during today’s celebrations of the victory over Nazism 72 years ago; Macron’s presence with Hollande is considered as symbol of “passing on the torch”.
In the Chinese most widespread newspaper People’s Daily Macron’s victory is covered by an article retaking one of the Xinhua press releases, while the second also focuses on the victory speech of the new French president that, nonetheless, is called ‘novice’ in the title; from the other hand it stresses on the Front Nationale project of reforming the party for future electoral battles.
The most widespread newspaper in Japan, Yomiuri Shimbun, covers extensively Macron’s election with 2 articles, one analysis and one more business-oriented article. In these articles the pro-EU attitude of Macron are widely underlined and associated to EU anthem “Ode to Joy” played while the newly-elected president entered in the Louvre gardens to make the victory speech; Macron’s victory is seen as a sigh of relief for EU countries and institutions. The analysis takes more into consideration the scenario of the legislative elections that will be held next June, for which polls put En Marche in advantage but without the certainty of getting the majority of the French National Assembly.
The second most widespread newspaper in Japan, Asahi Shimbun, dedicates two articles about French elections, being the first written from the same Reuters source used in a Yomiuri Shimbun’s article, while the second focuses on the role of Brigitte Macron during the presidential campaign and her future during Emmanuel’s presidential mandate.
Macron’s election has been sparsely covered in former British colonies and dominions the Times of India reports that while Macron’s victory has been mostly hailed by international press, his victory is considered as a bad news by the Eurosceptic, especially in Great Britain, as they can foresee that the new French president will keep a tough stance on Brexit negotiations; in Australia and South Africa news about the election came mostly from the Australian and South African branches of British news channels.
Finally, it is interesting to see how the North African press reacted to Macron’s election. Moroccan king Mohammed VI’s congratulations to Macron are widely present in Moroccan press the king hopes that the new French president will bolster French-Moroccan partnership regarding security, economics and culture. An article on Moroccoworldnews.com states that Marine Le Pen ‘after this second big defeat and tremendous blow is finished politically’, while an interview to Aurélien Lechevallier, Macron’s diplomatic counsellor, stated the main political points of the new French president regarding the collaboration between the two countries.
The Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika sent a message to Macron for his election, as widely reported in Algerian press. In this message, Bouteflika called Macron ‘a friend of Algeria’, hoping to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. In another article, it is underlined how Macron promised to recognise French responsibilities regarding war crimes perpetrated by French soldiers during the Algerian struggle for independence; in general terms, Algerian political power was relieved by Macron’s election.
Tunisian press covered the news of Macron’s election, even if sparsely La Presse de Tunisie published an interesting article about the risks of a victory of Marine Le Pen, nonetheless stating that Macron’s political struggle has just begun, as in June another important test to him and his movement will be the parliamentary elections.
Emmanuel Macron's celebration at The Louvre, Paris. Photo by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0
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