Opinion

Emmanuel Macron: The student who brought his teacher to the Élysée Palace

By Mounir Beniche

Rabat - Emmanuel Macron is the youngest president-elect in the history of French history and will be the youngest head of state since Napoleon III when he takes office on May 14. Macron won the second round of the presidential election on May 7 over Marine Le Pen, the National Front’s right-wing leader and the youngest daughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. The new president-elect is a role model for young proactive leaders who believe strongly in themselves and their ideas. He embodied the idea that change is based on taking action and transcending the psychological barriers that cripple people’s ambitions and dreams.

Macron was raised in a well-educated family with a physician for a mother and a neurology professor for a father. He developed his professional and political careers gradually and successfully. His political engagement and expertise in economics and finance have pushed him to build good relationships with influential politicians and business people, especially when he was appointed as the minister for the economy and finance. Macron’s newly founded independent political party, En Marche, was a platform to get more popularity, disseminate his ideas and accumulate a wide array of supporters from different ideological and political backgrounds.

He has been a model for a new paradigm in the French political scene by disrupting the classical ideological labels of right and left. His focus on openness and tolerance towards immigrants and Muslims was welcomed by many human rights activists and French intellectuals. It ran contrary to the rhetoric of Marine Le Pen who wanted to play on xenophobia and nationalism. Macron expressed clearly that France — as well as Europe at large — is capable of taking in more immigrants and that this would have a significant and positive economic impact.

For France’s security, Macron has called for an increase in state funding for intelligence agencies instead of the proposed reform bill on deprivation of citizenship for French-born and naturalized citizens convicted of terrorism. He has advocated secularism but at the same time he supports freedom of religious practices and is against the ban on Muslim headscarves in universities. Macron stated “personally, I do not believe we should be inventing new texts, new laws and new standards in order to hunt down veils at universities and go after people who wear religious symbols during field trips.”

Macron’s marriage to his former high school teacher, Brigitte Macron, has generated global media coverage. She is 24 years his senior and a mother of three children. He fell for her at the age of 15 as a student in her class. Though the opposition presented the relationship as inappropriate, Macron’s determination has exceeded all expectations, and he stayed with Brigitte after he graduated and tied the knot in 2007.

The implicit message of Macron’s story with Brigitte is that love is not related to age, and what is important in life is to be what you are with complete peace of mind because your personal choices are your own concerns. Stigmatising the Other for their perceived differences is the prerogative of the enemies of pluralism and multiculturalism who want those around them to be Xeroxed copies of their own tendencies and whims.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent any institution or entity. 

© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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