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Now, France too rejects hate politics

Jean-Luc Melenchon

The results of the election in France, which came out on Sunday, make irrelevant the calculations of political observers, along with the claims of the political parties in the fray. Jean-Luc Melenchon's New Popular Front Bloc (NFP), a loose coalition of leftist parties, has won 182 seats, edging the National Rally Party led by right-wing racist leader Marine Le Pen into third place. Close behind is incumbent President Emmanuel Macron's centrist coalition Ensemble with 163 seats. National Rally has managed to reach the third position by winning 143 seats. With no party having a clear majority in the 577-member National Assembly, the prospect of a Hung parliament is looming large.

Also read: France heads for hung Parliament as left surpasses far-right in exit polls

In terms of campaigning, polling, and announcement of results, the elections in France have many similarities with the one in India. Advancement of Le Pen's National Rally, which spearheads anti-immigrant and xenophobic politics, was raising concerns not only in France but in the European Union itself, especially considering that France is going to host the Olympics late next month. The dominance of far-right parties in many countries going to elections this year has caused uncertainty and anxiety across Europe for months. In various European countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic, right-wing extremist groups speaking in friendly terms with each other have sowed uneasiness among the democratic nations of the European Union. On Sunday, May 31, the National Rally came out on top in the first round of voting in France with 33 percent of the vote, sending excitement to fascist and racist fronts around the world. Correspondingly, the other side faced utter despair and disillusionment. Election forecasters almost unanimously predicted 250 to 300 seats for the Le Pen party (280 seats are needed for a majority). At the same time, the other parties, recognizing the threat, actively discussed joint strategies to defeat the extremist party by any means necessary. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, leader of Emmanuel Macron's centrist party, said bluntly, "Don't give any vote in the second round to the RN party which has reached the gate of power." Macron's party and the NFP were ready to withdraw from certain seats in favour of candidates capable of defeating RN's candidates. It is estimated that 200 candidates withdrew this way in order to keep the right-wing extremists away and enable the Republican Front win. Historians, lawyers, and Muslim leaders came together. A statement signed by 10,000 Christians led by 70 priests called for action against right-wing extremism in the name of faith.

Also read: France commences second round of legislative elections

Le Pen, on the other hand, has pulled all the stops to polarize the voters with radical anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric. When Marine Le Pen's father formed the extremist party in the 1970s, it even included mercenaries from Nazi Germany. Later, when the world turned against racism, Le Pen came along to change the extreme nature of the organization, but it was also the result of public relations programs similar to that of the Sangh Parivar in India. In the end, Le Pen was in the race to be at the forefront of Europe in terms of racism, having given up all moderation. Infiltrating immigrants would be denied dual citizenship, they would be put out of work, and citizenship rights would be denied to their children - these are some of the emotionally charged claims the party has been making on top of the hijab ban. However, when the election results came out, it became clear that France did not approve of that brand of politics advocating polarization and division. The fact that RN lost and came third is proof of that. In a parallel course of events, even though BJP came to power in India for the third time, the democratic nation saw it as a great victory to keep them below the absolute majority and to bring a strong opposition to the parliament. In the same mood, the victory celebrations have been held by democratic parties and civil society in France for the last two days.

Also read: French President Emmanuel Macron calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Europe watched with horror as the racists gained dominance over France, which was counted as the second biggest economic power in Europe. All the anti-racist forces were constantly educating the people in this regard. Democracy is not in good health today, Pope Francis told the annual convention of the Roman Catholic Church in Trieste, Italy's third-biggest province in the northeast. He warned that some people are leading the public to the abyss of destruction like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It may not be a coincidence that the Pope's call to reclaim self-respect and beware of the efforts to polarize impoverished people comes on the same day as the results in France. While the massive popularity of racism in Europe is disconcerting, it is comforting that efforts to find an antidote are also underway. Recent election results from India, Britain, and France show the auspicious sign that people value democracy and humanity over hate politics and terror induced by it. It also evokes hope that a determined struggle against fascist politics can make a different world possible.

Also read: Pro-Palestine protest in France: Police moves into a Paris university

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TAGS:Emmanuel MacronEditorialMarine Le PenFrance Election ResultsJean-Luc Melenchon
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