As French voters headed to the polls on Sunday, many others took to Twitter to implore them to either re-elect French President Emmanuel Macron or vote for right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen, prompting “Dear France” to become trendy.
Macron and Le Pen face off in a close election that experts say could have significant consequences for the future direction of France and Europe as a whole. The significance of the election has prompted many around the world to watch the results closely.
On Twitter, Macron’s US supporters shared their thoughts – some drawing a comparison to the 2016 presidential election when former President Donald Trump, a Republican, defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton – a result that shocked millions. ‘Americans.
Many have written “open letters” to French voters, urging them to really think about their vote.
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under former President Bill Clinton, wrote: “Dear France, this election is not a question of left against right, Macron against Le Pen. It is a question of democracy against the authoritarianism. The world is watching.”
Author and podcaster Kimberley Johnson has warned France not to “f*** that”.
Some Le Pen supporters also weighed in.
“Lots of ‘Dear France, things are terrible, vote for the status quo of awful’ tweets were out there this morning. Let’s hope Le Pen wins,” Twitter user Blake Elliot wrote.
Many on Twitter have also raised concerns about Le Pen’s past support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has come under scrutiny amid the widely condemned invasion of Ukraine, with France being one of the most powerful countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Le Pen visited Putin ahead of the 2017 French elections and has previously championed Russia’s foreign policy. “Ukraine is part of Russia’s sphere of influence, that’s a fact,” she said. She also said Putin must be “popular enough” to be re-elected, although experts warn Russian elections are neither free nor fair.
As her past comments became a major controversy during the race, she made efforts to distance herself from Putin, condemning the invasion of Ukraine, calling it “absolutely indefensible”.
“Dear France, you have been a cradle of democracy. Please don’t vote for Marie Le Pen. This is what Putin wants you to do. It will be a knife in Ukraine’s back. A vote for Le Pen is a vote for the graveyard of democracy,” Twitter user Robin Messing wrote.
Polls indicated the race will be closer than when the two faced off in 2017. Macron easily won that race with 66% of the vote. In the first round of voting on April 10, Macron won more than 27% of the vote, while Le Pen won around 23%, with 10 other candidates sharing the rest.
A FinancialTimes Poll tracking showed Macron leading with 55.3% of the vote, while Le Pen averaged 44.7%.