France elects president in second-round photo finish

The French presidential election has come to a historic photo finish as Serephin Favre and Antonin Dupond competed to become France’s next leader. The campaign was one of the harshest in history; Favre left nothing on the table, and Duford responding in kind.

Voters split almost evenly in the runoff on who should be the next president of France. This is largely due to Dupond’s appeal to centrists and former President Matthieu Sicard’s implicit endorsement of Duford in his concession speech. However, Favre has done much to contribute to her foe’s success; voters did not appreciate her negative campaigning.

At the end of the election, however, voters selected a president, albeit by an extremely slim margin.

Antonin Dupond (Les Républicains): 50.04 percent
Serephin Favre (Nouvelle Française): 49.96 percent

Despite President Delacroix’s popularity, Favre was not elected as her successor. However, even in the final days of the runoff election, Delacroix distanced herself from her party’s nominee, condemning the partisan rancor that came from the campaigns. “The French people are looking for a leader that has more to offer than attacks on those of which whom they do not agree. I would advise both candidates of that,” said the President of France to reporters in Paris.

This is the first win for Les Républicains (or the Republicans, for our non-French speaking readers) in fifteen years. The last LR president, Manuel Dufort, left office with France reemerging as a world power with decent economic growth. However, in that election, voters opted not to elect the man who now is President-elect of France, instead picking Matthieu Sicard, a member of the French Senate, as Dufort’s successor. Sicard would go on to be defeated in a landslide of 67 percent to 33 percent by current President Delacroix due to a huge distrust of government and a failing economy.

However, in the years post-presidency, Sicard and Dupond became friends, taking pleasure in anything but politics. This ironically became the basis of the biggest shock in the modern era of French politics; despite the fact that the Socialist Party and the Republicans have zero views in common, while Nouvelle Française shares quite a few views with the Socialists, Sicard refused to endorse at all. Many said that he did little to help his friend Dupond. However, by engaging in a denial of any endorsement, Sicard saved himself from the Socialist masses while denying Favre the very thing she needed to be elected without issue, thus propelling his friend to the needed position to be elected as president. Now, the President-elect will join a very exclusive group of individuals that include his mentor and his friend. Only four past presidents of France are still alive today: Fabien Charpentier, the last president from En Marche! before the party disbanded; Manuel Dufort, the mentor of the President-elect under which he served as Prime Minister; Matthieu Sicard, his opponent turned friend; and of course Solange Delacroix, the current president who will leave office in two weeks as President-elect Dupond enters office.

There is much speculation as to who will become Prime Minister under the new President. While President-elect Dupond is a member of Les Républicains, he is known for his bipartisanship and may name a prime minister of a different party to bridge the gap caused by the election. The President-elect indicated that a choice would be made quickly were he elected, but there is no way to predict when that might be.

Some options include:

  • Adrienne Renaud (LR): Renaud is currently the minority leader in the National Assembly of France, leading LR through a period of tough opposition. She is undoubtedly qualified for the role, and a selection of Renaud would indicate that Dupond intends to further the goals set out for France by LR rather than pursuing a compromising approach.
  • Matthieu Sicard (Socialist): The new President could possibly reach far across the aisle and bring his former competitor and friend back into the government. Sicard is well versed in how to do the job, but would bring Socialist views to a LR administration.
  • Bastien Lebeau (NF): If the new President is looking to reach across to mend the country after a bruising battle, Lebeau would be a choice to look at. Lebeau is a member of the French Senate who has become one of the most prominent (and bipartisan) faces of NF since the party’s inception. A choice of Lebeau would indicate that the president wants to mend ties but also believes that he may not be able to win a parliamentary majority in a few months.

UPDATE: Serephin Favre conceded the election to the President-elect from the Louvre:

“Though it pains me that I will not be serving as France’s next president, we must look to our future, not to our past. It is not time for us to become discouraged by the words that have been said, nor is it time for us to mourn for what might have been. It is time for us to come together and support our new president. I have called President-elect Dupond and congratulated him on his election. I also used this phone call, however, to tell him what I have told you: it is time for us to move on and work together. In this call, I have urged the President-elect to move swiftly in naming a new prime minister, specifically one from a party that is not his own in order to mend fences. We are one France. We may not all be Republicans, but we should all have a say in this administration.”

UPDATE 2: The President-elect of the French Republic, Antonin Dupond, has taken the stage in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in order to speak with the crowd that has assembled.

“What a night it has been! I am honored and humbled that you have elected me to serve as your next president. Ms. Favre called me earlier to concede this election and offer her support to our government. I am grateful for her support, and I promise to every single citizen of France that I will be a president for all people. We have come so far since the founding of this Republic, but our work is not yet complete. We must ensure that we have a working environment that is open to all. We must ensure that our economy remains sound. We must ensure that France rises back to being a major world leader, whether that be in our foreign policy, our infrastructure, or any other imaginable category. We must ensure that this country remains good as a whole- something that we can present to our children in good conscience for them to preserve in the same way. There is no nation like ours, no people like ours. We are France, and as a people, we deserve nothing short of greatness.

Many of you have wondered, especially since Ms. Favre’s speech, who will join me in ensuring that France is the best that it can be. I can tell you tonight, actually, that I have not only made that choice, but that she has gladly accepted and is here tonight. My prime minister will be Adrienne Renaud, and she will serve with dignity and honor in a way that all of France will be proud of. While I know that many will be disappointed that I have not crossed party lines in the selection of my prime minister, I have more to announce. I have selected my three ministers of state as well. As minister of the Interior I intend to nominate Matthieu Sicard of the Socialist Party; as minister of ecology, sustainable development, and energy I intend to nominate Bastien Lebeau of Nouvelle Française; and as minister of justice, I intend to Philippe Villeneuve, an independent. All of these choices do not come from my party, rather coming from parties that may have differing views. We will, however, come together in order to form a government that will work for every single citizen of this great nation.

Again, I thank you for your vote and for your confidence. God bless this great nation of France.”

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