France — the left united and won

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By FLAVIO AGUIAR*

The result of the French election defeated prejudice against foreigners, immigrants or refugees

1.

All the media commented that France would “zig” to the right in the second round of the legislative elections. Then on Sunday she did a “zag” to the left, to everyone’s surprise.

Does this mean that President Emmanuel Macron's strategy, dissolving the national parliament after the defeat in the election for the European parliament, was successful?

Yes and no. Yes: your coalition went from a humiliating defeat in the first round to an honorable second place in the decisive round. No: if he wasn't struggling with the projected far-right government, he is now struggling with a projected left-wing coalition government.

As no coalition obtained an absolute majority, it cannot be said that there is a clear winner in the election, although the left-wing coalition received the most votes. But it is clear that there is a loser: the Gathering [National Meeting] of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, who, from victorious in the first round, found themselves reduced to a humiliating third place in the second.

On the other hand, if they did not achieve an absolute majority, the French left developed a clearly successful tactic. Firstly, by uniting among themselves, overcoming traditional differences. Secondly, by developing, whenever possible, a common front with candidates and voters from Emmanuel Macron's center-right, to block the path of the extreme right.

According to comments in the French media, in 134 electoral districts left-wing candidates gave up their candidacy in favor of a better-placed center-right candidate, while in another 82 the opposite happened, with the Macronist candidate giving up in favor of a candidate from left.

2.

What will happen next? It is still too early to have a defined framework. President Emmanuel Macron declared that he “will respect the result of the election”. The logic of this statement says that he should call on the leadership of the left bloc to form the government. How will this affect your own party, the Renaissance [Renaissance], which was divided in this regard?

On the other side of the political spectrum, what will the traditional right, from the Les Republicains [Republicans], who should remain with between 60 and 65 deputies out of the 577 in parliament? They will join the Gathering to form an opposition bloc? Will they try to pull a wing of Macronites to their side?

A lot of water will still flow under these bridges before we have concrete answers.

3.

One thing is right. The result of the French election defeated prejudice against foreigners, immigrants or refugees. Just before the second round, reports in the European media highlighted the importance of themes constantly aired in the media, linking immigration and violence, to consolidate support for the xenophobic proposals of the Gathering, especially in small rural towns.

This victory of respect for differences is very significant in today's Europe, combined with the promise of the recently elected Labor government in the United Kingdom to suspend the deportation of immigrants considered irregular to Rwanda, in Africa.

Xenophobia, that is, prejudice against foreigners, is a threat that looms over the entire Europe, giving strength to far-right parties.

* Flavio Aguiar, journalist and writer, is a retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP. Author, among other books, of Chronicles of the World Upside Down (boitempo). [https://amzn.to/48UDikx]


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