French presidential election: an election likely improve Franco-Belgian relations
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    French presidential election: an election likely improve Franco-Belgian relations

    © Belga
    Emmanuel Macron after his presidential election victory with his wife Brigitte, their family and En marche ! supporters.
    © Belga

    Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election should, in fact, improve relations – already cordial anyway – between France and Belgium. Vincent Laborderie, a political scientist at the UCL (the Catholic University of Leuven), considers, “He is young, pro-European and liberal. He is therefore certainly closer to Charles Michel than François Hollande ever has been.”

    Laborderie’s counterpart at the ULB (Free University of Brussels), Pascal Delwit, goes further, “Both countries notably have excellent cultural and economic relations. The election of Emmanuel Macron will certainly not damage these relations in any way.”

    He went on, “This Sunday evening’s results are entirely logical after the first round.”

    He considered that the level of abstention, and blank and spoiled ballot papers, “in no way discredited” the election of the En marche ! candidate.

    It now falls to En marche ! to strengthen its position in June’s legislative elections.

    Pascal Delwit further indicated, “We are living in a political landscape, the like of which we have never seen before. We need to see how the various players will behave when faced with the electorate. Will the Republicans pick up again? Which opposition parties will we have? These issues have not, as yet, been determined in any way.”

    Delwit added, “However, we ought to see the position more clearly from next Monday, when Emmanuel Macron is due to name his Prime Minister.” Such a politician needs to be a man of experience.

    Vincent Laborderie expressed his opinion, stressing that, “This is a historic election, with an outsider being elected for the first time ever.” He adds, “The French political system is in the process of, in a sense, both breaking down and rebuilding itself.”

    He moreover flags up the FN “defeat.”

    Laborderie concludes, “Contrary to what we thought, abstention did not favour the Front National which is not succeeding in breaking the glass ceiling.”

    This is indeed the case, although the Republicans did not make it to the second round. This contrasts markedly with 2002, when Jacques Chirac beat Jean-Marie Le Pen gaining more than 82% of the vote.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times