Emmanuel Macron, French Presidential Candidate

Sleiman Chirara, GSS Correspondant

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By Sleiman Chirara
GSS Correspondent

PARIS — French voters Sunday chose Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker who married his high school teacher, and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to battle May 7 in a runoff for the presidency of France.

Citing official figures released by the Ministry of the Interior, France 24.com reported that Macron received 24.01 percent of the vote followed by Le Pen with 21.30 percent. The results thinned a crowded field, with right-wing conservative François Fillon and Socialist Benoît Hamon conceding defeat and endorsing Macron, as did current President François Hollande. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in fourth place with 19.58 percent, remains in the race.

Macron’s hold on the youth vote appears mixed. A report by the New Statesman on a Feb. 24 rally in London described Macron as a “rock star” who used music by Rihanna and images on Snapchat to charm a millennial audience with photos of supporters as far away as Morocco, Singapore and the United States.

But France24 noted “massive support from first-time voters” Sunday for Mélenchon, with almost one-third of those 24 years and younger choosing the far-left candidate. Le Pen, with a message that is strongly anti-immigrant and anti-European Union, captured 21 percent of voters aged 18 to 24. By contrast, Macron won 18 percent of the same group.

France’s overall unemployment rate of 10 percent in the final quarter of 2016 — the eighth highest among the 28 countries in the European Union, according to the BBC — was front and center in this year’s election campaign. According to the Organization for Economic Development, only 28 percent of French youth aged 15-24 have jobs, compared with 46 percent in Germany and nearly 50 percent in the United States:

High school senior Sleiman Chirara has worked as a member of  “Les Jeunes Avec Macron,” a youth organization that has led grassroots efforts to promote Macron among millennials.

He wrote this explainer about Macron, his ideas and the impact he has had so far on youth voters.

Who is Emmanuel Macron?

Emmanuel Macron is a 39-year-old French candidate running for president. Despite his young age, after studying at university, he went to work at Rothschild’s bank and became the youngest associate. He then became the delegate secretary of the French president François Hollande. He was appointed secretary of the economy, industry and technology at 35 years if age and began to develop his ideas and a movement he called “En Marche!” Today, he is the candidate of the youth and the future of France and Europe.

Why is he important?

Macron is important because for a young French citizen, he has an extraordinary background. He provides fresh and new ideas for France and stimulates the youth to build the future of their nation.

Also important are Macron’s four unique priorities that are different from the other candidates. He strongly believes in ecology, Europe, work and education, and youth.

It’s simple: Macron wants to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, he wants to reunify and reinforce the relationship between France and other European countries and he wants young people to follow their passion, for example, by encouraging the development of France’s technology industry. He wants to lower unemployment by training everyone at every age and to lighten taxes on employers.

What is “Les Jeunes Avec Macron” and why am I participating in this?

When Macron noticed that he was heard and that he had a certain power on the society, he gave this power to youth straightaway by creating “Les Jeunes Avec Macron.” He wanted young French citizens to be involved in our country’s changes. In a certain way, he gave voice to the youth, because his movement is now playing a strong role in developing Macron’s presidential agenda.

I have been involved in “Jeunes” since December 2016. I have been strongly attracted by the desire of Macron to modernize our country. He strongly believes in youth. I call him “the candidate of the future.” I think that he listens to French people and answers our demands. This is why I committed myself and I have been chose to be a “state representative” of “Les Jeunes Avec Macron”.

Where can I learn more about Macron?

Learn more about Macron’s vision at the “Jeunes Avec Macron” website and visit En Marche on Facebook and Twitter.

 

—Chirara is a senior at the American School of Paris.

—Featured photo: Emmanuel Macron, then France’s minister for economy, industry and digital affairs, discussed technology trends at the Le Web conference in Paris on Dec. 11, 2014. Le Web is France’s top Internet and networking event. Photo by Official Le Web Photos/CC 2.0. 

This content was created, produced and published by Global Student Square and is republished here with permission. See and support the work of Global Student Square at www.globalstudentsquare.org.

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