French America voted for Le Pen | International

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Electoral officials in French Guiana count the votes this Saturday during the second round of the presidential elections.Jody Amiet (AFP)

Emmanuel Macron won Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday. But in France’s five overseas departments and regions in the Americas, the far-right candidate vastly outperformed the president, reaching more than 60% in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyana, and more than 50% in Saint Martin-Saint Barthélemy and the archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

In the speech in which she conceded defeat, Le Pen took the opportunity to thank French Americans – as well as those from the islands of Mayotte and Reunion, where she won with 59% of the vote – who supported her in these elections: “Our compatriots in the overseas territories put me first with extraordinary strength. This forgotten France, we will not forget it,” she said.

Earlier this year, André Rougé, Le Pen’s spokesman in overseas territories, said in a broadcast on the network Radio Caraibes International (RCI), that Macron was “without a doubt the biggest culprit” in supporting the far-right candidate for his “lack of interest” in the main issues that concerned those territories in recent years, such as chlordecone, a pesticide banned in mainland France and that since 2008 it has poisoned thousands of people in Martinique and Guadeloupe, “or the unacceptable lack of access to water for a large part of the population, from the Antilles to Mayotte,” he said.

Quebec overwhelmingly supported Macron

In the Canadian province of Quebec, thousands of French expatriates made long lines this Saturday to cast their vote in one of the boxes installed for the second round of the elections. Unlike in the Caribbean islands and the North American archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Macron widely surpassed the candidate of the National Rally, with 74.50% of the votes.

French expatriates in Montreal, Canada, flock to the voting booths during the second round of the Presidential Election this Saturday.
French expatriates in Montreal, Canada, flock to the voting booths during the second round of the Presidential Election this Saturday.Graham Hughes (AP)

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During the first round of the presidential elections, the leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was the most voted candidate in the five American overseas departments and regions. However, his call not to support the extreme right was not heeded in these islands. The result obtained by Le Pen has been described as “a surprise” by the political scientist of the University of the Antilles Justin Daniel, who has assured in an interview with the newspaper Le Parisian that this outcome has been “a protest vote against Macron instead of a vote for Le Pen”.

The tensions between the Macron government and these territories located more than 7,000 kilometers from mainland France became highly visible during the first year and a half of the covid-19 pandemic. These islands have a vaccination rate 50% lower than the rest of the Gallic departments. According to Le Parisian, mistrust of the antigen is a constant in the islands. The health restrictions imposed by the Macron government in 2021, such as the health pass or mandatory vaccination for medical personnel, caused violent demonstrations in places like Guadeloupe. In November, hundreds of people took to the streets of Basse-Terre, the capital of the department, to protest against these measures. Local authorities had to impose a curfew to stop the looting and destruction of vehicles.

The result obtained by Le Pen this Sunday has been the best for the French extreme right. “These results represent a victory,” insisted the leader in the speech in which she recognized her defeat, the second in a row, in the goal of becoming the next president of France. “Millions of our compatriots have chosen the national field. We are more determined than ever. This defeat can only be a hope, a signal to the French and European leaders that there is a great challenge from the French people, which they cannot ignore. In addition, Le Pen called for a battle against Macron’s “destructive project” in the legislative elections that will be held in a few weeks.

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