When the tv screen announced at 8 pm that Emmanuel Macron had won with the overwhelming score of 65,8% (actually 66,1% the day after) our hearts suddenly exploded and respite overtook us. What a relief and what a great victory ! I want to thank all of you, faithful readers and friends, who sent text and e mail messages from Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Poland and the US. It was as if suddenly, the year long series of International bad surprises in the polls had ended. France and Europe can now take a new start.
From Andy Borowitz’s New Yorker editorial « French annoyingly retain right to claim Intellectual superiority over Americans », to the cover of the Spectator in London, to the hilarious tweets related by the Figaro on Monday, a great sense of humor and immense joy are celebrating this election. At the Arch of Triumph on May 8th, President Hollande was guiding the President elect like he would his own son. They were both obviously moved and the military ceremony became a friendly celebration of the election. The old soldiers who had fought the war were smiling at the youth of their new President and the biting cold of May did not seem to affect anyone.
When he walked alone on the esplanade of the Louvre accompanied by the sound of Beethoven’s « Ode to Joy » (the final movement of the 9 th symphony and the European hymn), Emmanuel Macron, the youngest President of the 5 th Republic, had the simplicity and the composure of a great chief. But mostly, what struck us all was the energy and dynamic of the crowds.
Both his speeches sounded genuine with no weasel words. Because he is not a politician, we can hope he will be pragmatic and as he said : « I have five years to make sure that the French do not want to vote for extremist parties anymore ».
« I know what I owe you » were his first words, « France has won… everyone said it was impossible but they did not know France ». « I will not disappoint you, I will carry the impulse which is yours, the surge you represent ». « Europe and the world expect us to defend everywhere the spirit of Enlightment, of freedom. They expect us to carry far a new humanism and a new hope. Our task is huge, to moralise public life, to strenghthen our economy, to enforce school, work and culture, to assure security for all Frenchmen, to be audacious…”
When I heard his “En Marche” movement spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, elected in Chalon sur Saône (Burgundy) speak, I suddenly realised that our new politicians would be young, handsome and well read. What a change!
His French was impeccable and yet simple, his emotion visible, he was almost in tears after this incredible victory of a movement founded a year ago. And he almost admitted his own surprise at the success.
A few minutes later, I heard 29 year old communicator Ismael Emelien and 33 year old Mounir Mahjoubi discuss Friday night’s hacking with great calm. These young guys are quite impressive! And they already have a career behind them!
On the 8 th of May, anniversary of the Second World War’s liberation, there was a feeling of the Resistance having won a second time. De Gaulle was not far away, and the bling bling era of Sarkozy was very remote.
Now the June 11 polls will tell if he can exhilarate enough followers to have a majority in parliament for “La République en marche”, Mar-cron new political party. But it seems that already, a large smile is forming on every Frenchman‘s face… there is hope at the corner.
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