Macron’s leap into the unknown

Macron’s leap into the unknown

Macron’s leap into the unknown
A leap into the unknown is the expression most often used to describe Macron’s move. (Reuters)
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It is hard to say who will be in a position to govern France on July 8, the day after the second round of early legislative elections decided by President Emmanuel Macron with his surprise dissolution of parliament last week. It is also hard to say what the foreign policy of France, the only nuclear power in the EU and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will be with regard to its European, Mediterranean, African and Arab environment, should the extreme right seize power.
President Macron’s decision to dissolve parliament and the accelerated agenda it imposes continue to provoke party cracks internally and questioning reverberations externally. Three major shocks were observed following this dissolution.
Firstly, Eric Ciotti’s Republicans party publicly tore itself apart over the need to establish an electoral alliance with Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella’s National Rally. Meanwhile, Eric Zemmour’s Reconquest party broke up when its head of list Marion Marechal and its European deputies took up the cause of the National Rally; provoking, in Zemmour’s words, a great betrayal.
The third shock was felt by the left-wing galaxy. Despite its divisions and the multiplicity of egos that lead it, it managed to unite in record time and form a popular front that will take the place, in the French imagination, of the Republican front that repeatedly prevented Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine from reaching the presidential office — once against Jacques Chirac and twice against Macron. The ability of the left to overcome its contradictions and antagonisms in theory reveals the sense of urgency that is gripping it in the face of the high probability of the arrival of the far right in France in these early legislative elections.
A leap into the unknown is the expression most often used to describe Macron’s move. For no one is able to predict the outcome of the evening of Sunday, July 7, and the political architecture that will emerge from the ballot box. Some have no hesitation in attributing a Machiavellian approach to Macron — that of attracting the far right to power and thus showing the French its inability to govern in order to close the door to the presidential election once and for all. This option is too risky and fraught with consequences and has been loudly denied by Macron himself. 

No one is able to predict the outcome of July 7 and the political architecture that will emerge from the ballot box.

Mustapha Tossa

This leap into the unknown creates a major concern for France’s future foreign policy in the event that the Quai d'Orsay is occupied by a far-right figure. What would be France's policy toward current crises and wars? The extreme right’s admiration for Vladimir Putin’s Russia could lead France to backtrack on its support for Ukraine. The extreme right’s sudden and surprising sympathy for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will certainly influence France’s stance on Israel’s war in Gaza. The scales will tip heavily in favor of Netanyahu and any French move to recognize the Palestinian state will be postponed indefinitely.
With the Arab countries of North Africa and the Gulf, relations will go through a phase where everything will have to be reinvented. The far right sees these Arab countries either as exporters of illegal immigration — the nightmare on which the far right has built its fortune — or as exporters of radical Islamist ideology. Unless we can imagine this new power reneging on all its promises under the pressure of political realism, this relationship with the Arab world will be fraught with grit and acid reflux, requiring a real rewriting of alliances.
By taking the decision to plunge France into an electoral sequence in such a short space of time — and on the eve of the Olympic Games being held in Paris — Macron is taking the risk of handing the keys to power either to the far right, with the anxious uncertainties we all know, or to the Popular Front, whose main driving force is the radical left. It has promised major overhauls to both erase the Macron era and attempt to immunize France against the specter of the far right.

Mustapha Tossa is a Franco-Moroccan journalist. In addition to having participated in the launch of the Arabic service of Radio France Internationale, he has notably worked for Monte Carlo Doualiya, TV5Monde and France 24.

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