Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French Presidential elections has brought hope to France, Europe and the world that openness and tolerance can defeat extremism, said Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore .
In a post on Facebook, Tharman warned about the rise of Far Right in the French elections, “The French results show that the extreme right and its brand of populist nationalism is now in the mainstream. Le Pen’s National Front won a historic one third of votes - and a majority amongst blue-collar voters. And large numbers of people cast blank votes, or did not bother to vote.”
Giving impetus on multiculturalism and checking extremism, Tharman said, “Extremism will only be checked, in France as in many other countries, when ordinary families have confidence in the future. Real progress made in tackling high youth unemployment and segregated neighbourhoods. And multiculturalism embraced by both immigrants and native citizens.
However, Tharman, while accepting that French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has a “tough task ahead,” but " he starts with the courage to break the mould.”
Macron’s emphatic victory has also brought a huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain’s vote to quit the European Union and Donald Trump’s election as US president.
Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker, who will be the youngest president of France’s Fifth Republic, had campaigned on a business-friendly vision of European integration, and also portrayed himself as the man to revive France’s fortunes by recasting a political landscape moulded by the left-right divisions of the last century. His rival, Le Pen, on the other hand, focused on high-spending, anti-globalisation “France-first” policies.