Day 13 – One of Macron’s most immediate conundrums …

… is where to hold that victory celebration?

Socialist Presidents have gathered their supporters in the neo-revolutionary Place de la Bastille (where the Bastille Prison stood until the French Revolution): Mitterand went there twice and Hollande followed his lead.

The Right traditionally picks the Place de la Concorde to celebrate its victories – it’s where de Gaulle delivered his post-Liberation speech. However, after beating Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, Chirac went instead to the Place de la République. That venue has, at its centre, a statue of Marianne (the personification of the French Republic – olive branch in her right hand and left hand on a tablet engraved with the Rights of Man). It’s a traditional gathering point for great moments in the nation’s life – and a place where great marches either start or finish. However, Sarkozy went back to the Place de la Concorde for his 2007 moment … before he went and immediately spoiled it by going on to dine at upmarket, chic Fouquet’s in the Champs Elysées (bling bling was up and away).

[There’s something of a Front National-inspired row about the modest(ish) Montparnasse brasserie chosen for last night’s Macron Meal. One invitee said there were radishes, croque-monsieur cut in quarters and a glass of champagne. ‘Bling bling’ shouts the FN.]

So what will Macron do? Could the ideal place for a celebration be the Place de la Bourse? Or perhaps the surely yet-more-appropriate Place de la Nation: though the practical problem is that major refurbishment works are under way.

[A memory. On 7th May 1995 (a few years after moving to Paris) it seemed a good idea to join Jospin’s (possible) Election celebration against Chirac. Arrived in the Place de la Bastille soon after 7pm. Police everywhere. Round about 7.40pm – 20 minutes pre-Election result – the police began disappearing to vans and coaches, and away they drove. No Bastille celebration that lovely warm night – the Place de la Concorde was the place for revellers after 14 years of Socialism.]

The show ain’t over till …

Mortimer (The Spectator) wrote today: ‘An unlikely alliance of Communists and Catholics could yet spoil Macron’s coronation’, highlighting the fact that Fillon and Mélenchon jointly got 39% of the vote yesterday.

His thesis is that Mélenchon voters have a lot in common with Le Pen’s ‘visceral dislike of the European Union and globalisation, both of which form core components of Macron’s vision of France’. They will not have been pleased to see all those Euro-flags fluttering alongside French tricolores at Macron’s big speech … and even less pleased by Euro-Commission President Juncker’s protocol-breaking good wishes sent to Macron.

While socially conservative Catholics will have possibly been put off Macron by Sens Commun and just might be persuaded by ultra-socially conservative Le Pen niece (Maréchal-Le Pen) to give it a whirl with Le Pen.

The vast majority of Mélenchon’s voters weren’t Communist, so I’m not sure how far we should take this reminder that a fortnight is an extremely long time in politics

All right-thinking people (and all right-thinking markets) say ‘Yay for Macron’

President Hollande, Prime Minister Cazeneuve and his Government, 160 Socialist MP’s and Councillors plus Uncle T. Cobley have joined in a unanimous and unconditional chorus of ‘Yay Macron’.

The French stock market rose 4%, with banks (in particular) going up between 7.5 – 10%. The Euro had its best day for months.

Even Fillon’s Républicain Party officially said this evening that ‘Up against the Front National, abstention is not an option. We call on everyone to vote against Marine Le Pen so as to beat her in the 2nd round. We will, tomorrow, begin our campaign for the Parliamentary Elections.’ [But Le Pen said tonight that there are contacts between her and several Républicain MPs who do not agree with Fillon’s call for a vote for Macron.]

Since Trotskyists naturally abhor advice from all ‘right’-thinking people it’s scarcely a surprise that they are all ostentatiously ignoring the 2nd round and will be making a highly principled non-participation in Round 2.

However, Mélenchon continues to cause much astonishment to just about everyone to his right (ie just about everyone) by steadfastly still lumping Macron and Le Pen together, saying ‘neither had any ecological awareness’. He oratorically pronounced: ‘each person knows in their conscience what is their duty’. Consultation begins now, but advice is there none.

French people overseas

40% voted Macron and 26% Fillon … but only 44% of the 1.2 million actually voted. Those queues?

At your service

Le Pen announced tonight she is now ‘on leave’ from the Presidency of the Front National. ‘I have always believed’, she said, ‘that the President of the Republic is the President of the French people and must unite all the French. However that must be shown in deeds not words … I am now only a Presidential candidate.’

She said on France 2 that Macron had succeeded because of a ‘fog that will clear away; the French will learn about the content of his plans with their very severe social, economic and migration violence’.

Pessimist France votes Le Pen, Optimist France votes Macron

A fascinating study by Paris’s Sciences Po University (CEVIPOF)/Centre for Economic Research showing (in French) that unease and pessimism are 2 strong indicators of a Le Pen vote: ‘The probability of voting Front National is very high (around 45%), among the most pessimistic French people, regardless of their level of income’.

Round 1: Official Result (for the sake of good order)

It’s here.

And in the end … 77.77% voted. That turns out to be the 3rd highest abstention level in the 5th Republic’s 10 Presidential Elections (1st Round). While 2.58% either spoilt their ballot paper or voted blanc (ie no candidate’s ballot paper in the envelope, meaning ‘None of the above’) which is also the 3rd highest level under the 5th Republic.

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