In 2017, Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency in the second round with more than 66% of the votes against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Even though Le Pen made it into the second round for the first time, many analysts predicted that she is too divisive to ever win a presidential election, thus she will fade away. Instead, Ms Le Pen renamed her party (from National Front to National Rally), quickly broke down internal dissent, and began her journey to the centre-right.
In 2022, she got more than 41% of the vote, and it is not entirely unthinkable that she might be France’s next president. Part of it is simple politics: after her loss in 2017, she quickly abandoned her anti-euro stance, and concentrated her hard-right rhetoric on cultural issues, such as immigration. She vowed to stay in the EU and ‘reform’ it, instead of campaigning for a membership referendum, hoping that the former voters of centre-right, The Republicans, would choose her. In the end, some did vote for her, but most of them choose Mr Macron again.