‘A Better Future’: Why Syria’s French Voters Chose Le Pen Over Macron

Syria became the only country in the world where French voters supported National Front leader Marine Le Pen during last week’s presidential runoff in France, according to the results of voting abroad published the French Foreign Ministry.

Last Sunday, independent candidate Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the French presidential election with 66.1 percent of the votes, the country’s Interior Ministry said earlier this week, after all the ballots were processed.

According to the ministry, National Front party candidate Marine Le Pen gained 33.9 percent of the votes, which corresponds to 10.6 million of the voters, while 20.7 million voted for Macron.

In an interview with Sputnik France, Doctor Katti, a French national residing in Syria, explained that French citizens who wanted to cast ballots had to go to Lebanon, where a polling station was established in the country’s French Embassy in Beirut.

“The French residing in Syria are unhappy with the severance of diplomatic relations between Paris and Damascus as well as the closure of relevant consulates and embassies,” Katti said.

He added that “on the other hand, they are unpleased with the difficulties that their children faced after the closure of the French Lyceum in Aleppo, something that prompted them to leave Syria and go to Lebanon or elsewhere.” 

“The French in Syria are afraid that Emmanuel Macron will continue this policy because today they have neither consular nor diplomatic protection. So when Le Pen called for mending ties with Syria and fighting terrorism [during her election campaign], it would have provided them with a better future,” Katti said.

He recalled that “most European countries continue to pursue pro-American policies, that is, to boycott Syria, regardless of our misfortunes and this civil war.”

“That’s why people are waiting for the emergence of politicians who will not be afraid to declare that the war in Syria must be stopped in order to improve the situation in the country.  In this vein, Le Pen’s proposals were more favorable for the French living in Syria,” Katti pointed out.

When asked about Emmanuel Macron, he said that “we are waiting for the French President-elect’s actions so that we can build up an opinion about him.”

Commenting on Macron’s desire to bolster relations with Germany, Kattin said that although “the European vector is a good thing, we are afraid that France will be in a too-subordinate position in relation to Germany.”

“We want France to remain great, like it was in the time of General de Gaulle…We are afraid that the Brussels’ financial technocrats, who are in power today, will impose their policies on European countries which will run counter to the interests of ordinary people,” Katti concluded.

Meanwhile, Ali Murad, a specialist in Arab studies and professor at the Beirut Arab University, told Sputnik that new French President Emmanuel Macron’s stance on the Syrian crisis will be less biased and less ostentatious than that of his predecessor Francois Hollande.

His suggestion was echoed by Ziad Majed, a political analyst at the American University of Paris.

“He will continue Hollande’s policy in Syria, but he will be more cautious. Macron will wait for what Washington will do in Syria,” Majed told Sputnik.

 

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