Emmanuel Macron accused of election plot after comfortable win over Marine Le Pen

Emmanuel Macron vows to represent all French people

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The French President won with 58.5 percent of the votes against the far-right leader on Sunday, scoring a second five-year term. But French MP Adrien Quatennens claimed Mr Macron plotted to ensure Ms Le Pen was the candidate he would face at the final vote.

Speaking to Info France 2, the La France Insoumise politician said: “President Macron cannot say that he fought the far right during these five years.”

The French MP added that Mr Macron has raised the far-right “to get the second round he wanted”.

He said: “Macron’s words were very similar to the ones he pronounced five years ago. He also said that some people had voted for him to block Le Pen.

“However, he didn’t do anything in these five years but fracturing even more French society, thus helping the growth of the far right. Macron cannot say he has fought the far right during these five years.

“He has in fact helped it to get the second round he wanted. And that’s why he has been re-elected. Marine Le Pen has helped his re-election.

“The far right is a very comfortable opposition for Macron. Because she brings a disruptive project, many people have voted for him to block her.

“That’s not opposition. We are the opposition. The political scenario before and after April 10 is not the same.

“There are three groups: the ultra-liberal with Macron, the far-right with Le Pen and our popular bloc with Melenchon that wants to get bigger.

“The problem is that we have institutions that favour the confrontation between two groups.”

While Mr Macron’s margin of victory was comfortable, it was well below the 66.1 percent he scored against the same opponent in their first runoff in 2017, and even further from the 82 percent secured by conservative Jacques Chirac in 2002 when the far-right first made it to the runoff round.

With all eyes turned towards a parliamentary election in June, he must now negotiate another tricky period of campaigning to try to ensure a legislature that will give him the majority he will need to implement his policies.

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Hard-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon – who came a close third behind Ms Le Pen in the first round – immediately labelled the June 12 and June 19 parliamentary elections a “third round” of the presidential election.

It is a ballot in which opposition parties of all stripes will be hoping to win.

Mr Melenchon hopes to carry that momentum into the parliamentary elections and force Mr Macron into an awkward and stalemate-prone “cohabitation” with him in charge of a left-wing majority.

Even if President Macron allies do get a majority or a workable coalition pact, he will also have to deal with resistance in the streets to his reform plans, notably a pension reform that would gradually raise the minimum age to 65 from 62.

Pensions are always a hot issue in France and Macron’s lower score against Le Pen compared to 2017 means he won’t have the same authority to implement reforms he had five years ago, despite becoming the only French president to be re-elected in two decades.

“His election is a choice by default. He risks being a lame duck faced with major social discontent if he wants to implement sensitive reforms such as for pensions,” Christopher Dembik, an economist for Saxo Bank, told Reuters.

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In a possible sign of the trouble ahead, he was repeatedly admonished by angry voters about the pension reform on the campaign trail, forcing him to concede a possible cap at 64.

Philippe Martinez, the head of the Communist-backed CGT union, one of the biggest in France, has already warned Macron that there would be “no honeymoon” for him and he could expect demonstrations if he did not back down entirely.

Another volatile issue to deal with in the immediate aftermath of the election will be skyrocketing energy prices.

President Macron’s government has capped electricity prices and offered discounts on prices at the pump until after the election. He said during the campaign he would shield voters for as long as necessary, but offered no timeline.

What is clear is that the costly measures will have to be lifted at some point.

Meanwhile, MPs say constituents are already complaining about the soaring price of all sorts of staples, such as Ukraine-made sunflower oil or rice and bread.

In 2018, rising pump prices triggered France’s worst social unrest since the 1968 students revolt with the “Yellow Vest” rebellion that caused months of disruption in Paris and roundabouts across France.

President Macron will therefore have to tread carefully if he does not want the tinderbox to explode again.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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