France: After the first round of the 2022 presidential election

Ensemble Insoumis-es

April 11, 2022

The general election took place in a very particular context, marked both by the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine, limited by the fact that Macron chose not to take part in the campaign, which also prevented the contradictory debate that could have taken place. It is only very late that the sections of the population least interested in politics really discovered the campaign.

Of course, we are disappointed, sad and worried about the result of the first round.

Disappointed because our campaign deserved better and we only missed out on qualification for the second round by 400,000 votes, which is very little [Mélenchon got 22% of the vote, only 1.2% behind Le Pen].

Sad and worried because of the repetition of the worst scenario, the one opposing Macron to Le Pen, the extreme right against the “extreme cash”.

Still we are proud of the campaign in which we all took part with great enthusiasm. In this context we just described, the campaign of the “Popular Unity” must be praised for having steadily gained more and more strength. Led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, it was well-orchestrated by the Parliament of the Popular Unity [council bringing together activists from Mélenchon’s movement but also figures from the world of politics, associations, trade unions and culture in support of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign] and relying on a large number of activists.

We thank the voters who have come out in favour of our candidate, and we are aware of the diversity of their motivations. The vote for Mélenchon is in fact partly based on an approval of the programme and the campaign. But it is also, to a lesser extent, a broad vote on the left, to act against Le Pen and Macron. Among these voters, we note that an impressive number of young people have come out to try to put an end to climate change and anti-social policies that are terrible threats for their own future. It is also important to underline the fact that there was a massive vote coming from the working class neighbourhoods all over France, also from the overseas territories, and from citizens who often shun the ballot box but this time mobilised en masse. These are major elements for the future and we must build on them so that they don’t vanish.

For the second round, we do not consider that Le Pen, the neo-fascist candidate, and Macron are equivalent. Therefore, we share the position expressed on Sunday by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the leaders of the Popular Unity on the television platforms: not one single vote should go to Marine Le Pen, whose election would be a disaster for the country. Le Pen is the economical project of Macron, plus racism and discriminations against women and people of immigrant background.

It is clear that Macron, who still dares to present himself as if he was protecting France against the far right, is in fact the one responsible for making it grow by sowing anger and despair with his policies serving the powerful. In 2017, he acted as if the votes he got to prevent Le Pen’s victory were support for the catastrophic policies he has led. It was a sham, coherent with his arrogance and deep-seated ultra-liberal views. If he wants to convince people that it’s worthwhile to vote for him, he’d better start off by abandoning retirement at 65.

The vote which took place on April 10 confirmed the fact that the political landscape is split in 3 main parts dominating the country’s political life:

The ultra-liberal block, which cleverly draws from its central position on the chessboard its ability to exercise power even in a minority position in the country.

The neo-fascist and reactionary block which competes for leadership and which has sadly grown in percentage since 2017, from 25% to 32.3% in 2022.

Finally, the block of the anti-liberal and anti-productivist left which is dominated by the Popular Unity, whose result, although without the Communist Party, has increased by 2.5 points compared to 2017. If we add the result of the Communist Party [2.3% of the vote], whose competition contributed to cost the second round, it is almost 5 points more than in 2017 [24.3% in 2022 compared to 19.6% in 2017].

This is why, if we are disappointed and worried, we are still full of hope. The campaign has shown that we can rally around a serious and detailed programme able to face the urgent needs of the time. We have been given an enormous responsibility, which is to prepare for the resistance and victories of tomorrow. We will be there! Nothing is lost if we know how to stand together, united, as has been shown with the Popular Unity and its Parliament. We also need to broaden it even further in the coming parliamentary elections: despite the divisions of the presidential campaign, we must come to an agreement with the Communist Party, the NPA, the Green Party, and also civil rights, feminist, anti-racist, labor, environment activists and grassroot community based forces who wish to join. This alliance must have a clearly anti-liberal and anti-productivist basis and take into account the balance of power the first round of the election has established on the left.

In a country that is questioning itself, the parliamentary elections will be a major opportunity. We are especially calling on the youth and the working class: we must resist and prepare the future, continue the fight to avoid the climate catastrophe and to oppose the anti-social attacks, should they come from Macron or from an extreme right that is more threatening than ever.

Original declaration available in French here. Translated by Ensemble Insoumis-es.