Putin Lost the French Presidential Election

French Presidential Election
Marine Le Pen and Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 24 March 2017.

The French Presidential Election Outcome

The French Presidential Election is always important. France is the seventh largest economy in the world and a leader within the EU and NATO. However, this election had even more significant international implications. In many ways this election was the first serious test of Western support for Ukraine. Marine Le Pen had long expressed sympathies for the Kremlin and Putin’s regime. It’s not necessary to determine whether her support was genuine or due to financial influence. Either way she had expressed skepticism toward NATO and support for past Russian aggression. It’s difficult to imagine she would not have complicated the Western support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.

At the same time, the election was not quite a rejection of populism. Le Pen certainly represents a particularly toxic brand of far right populism. It poses serious concerns not just for democracy, but liberalism as well. Nonetheless, Emmanuel Macron represents his own form of technopopulism with concerns as well. The political party, En Marche!, is widely viewed as an empty vessel for Macron’s political ambitions. After Macron’s term concludes, it will likely dissolve. Macron has taken down the traditional parties, but left nothing to replace them.┬áSo, Le Pen’s National Rally Party will become France’s strongest political party left standing for the next presidential election.

Nonetheless, the election demonstrates voters will not abandon Ukraine at this time. However, this was just the first of many elections during this conflict.┬áVoters in many democracies will decide whether they want to continue their support for Ukraine. It’s likely some voters will refuse to pay the price for freedom. Hopefully, it does not come to that. Let us hope future elections do not provide such a stark choice for the voters.

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