The votes have been cast, and the results are in: Emmanuel Macron is the new president of France, a win that has many French voters exhaling sighs of relief.
But despite the defeat of the far-right, France has still chosen an unlikely candidate. Macron is new to elected office and only 39-years-old.
“On the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, you have this amazing moment of French history unfolding,” said news analyst Charlie Sennott on Boston Public Radio today. “The biggest and most resounding historical [sic] thing that happened in this election is a rejection of status quo.”
Both major candidates in the French election represented departures from the norm of the country’s politics. Opposing the green Macron, Marine Le Pen had far-right and isolationist politics that were also indicative of a break with the past.
“France has spoken and what it said is, ‘We reject status quo, we don’t really know where we’re headed, but it’s going to be somewhere down the middle for right now,’” said Sennott.
He also talked about the relative indifference surrounding Macron. Some French voters saw him as the lesser of two evils, and feel unsure about the direction he’ll take the country.
“He’s this centrist, he’s a technocrat, he’s a former minister of the economy,” Sennott said. “No one’s really sure where he’s going to take everything, but he’s going to try very hard to hold together the European Union and is a deep believer in it, is a globalist.”
Sennott also praised Macron for the comments he’s made about appeasing those who voted against him, and trying to remedy some of the anger spurred by a sink-or-swim global economy.
“Thirty-five percent of the vote in an election is a big deal for the far-right in France,” he said. “That anger over losing your job in a global economy is what was expressed in support of Le Pen, and that’s not going away.”
Charlie Sennott is a news analyst at WGBH, where he also heads up The GroundTruth Project. To hear his interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.