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The New Co-Prince of Andorra: Emmanuel Macron

Daniel Carvalheiro-Santos, Staff Writer

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Over the past few weeks, every major news source has been covering a contentious election cycle which took place in France.  We can now, finally say this whole ordeal is over. With the “final showdown” having occurred on May 7, Emmanuel Macron was named the new French president. He was facing the far-right female candidate, Marine Le Pen. He came out on top, and became the President of France and, surprisingly, Co-Prince of Andorra. Who are these people and why should we, as Oratory students, care?

Before discussing the recently elected president, let’s review the other candidate that many Americans feared would win the French elections, Marine Le Pen. Marine Le Pen has a name well known to the French people. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, is despised by much of the French population. His fascist and Nazi political tendencies have brought him into the center of innumerable controversies. In fact, he once got fired from the National Assembly for these same tendencies. From there, he went on to create a music company that focused on emulating the music of Nazis, and for this, he was charged with praise of war crimes. His most notable achievement was the creation of the National Front, the party for which his daughter serves as the leader (Marine succeeded him after he was suspended for refusing to attend a hearing on his description of Holocaust gas chambers as a minor facet of history). After the many surreal accusations of racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry, Marine Le Pen had a lot of cleaning up to do. Seemingly, she did a decent job, rallying support from those who wanted change, using a similar strategy as President Trump used in the 2016 Presidential elections. On election night, she managed to rack up around 30 percent of the vote. However, she was no match for the highly qualified Macron.

Emmanuel Macron, the new French president was elected by a decisive twenty point margin. He became the youngest president to be elected in France since the “reign” of Napoleon. He is considered a centrist, a term unfamiliar to the majority of Americans, students in particular. A centrist is defined as one who has moderate views on political ideologies. With the emergence of the En Marche! Party, a party created by Macron to launch his presidential campaign, more and more French politicians are adopting similar ideologies. Macron is a well-rounded individual who was qualified for the seat as president of France. His resume is replete with state positions ranging from lead advisor to Francois Hollande to Minister of the Economy and Finances. To these high positions, Emmanuel Macron could now add President of France and… Co-Prince of Andorra.

For those of you who don’t know, Andorra is a country located in the Pyrenees on the Iberian Peninsula. Andorra is also the only country is the world where Catalan is the official language (I am not explaining what Catalan is, so Google it). Now that we have gotten that out of the way, why would the president of France also be the Prince of Andorra? Well, this all started with a political and religious union between the Bishop of Urgell (Diocese in Spain and Andorra) and the Count of Foix. After the descendants of the Count of Foix became the head of Navarre and consequently France, the union was strengthened. King Henry of Navarre, who became King Henry IV of France, declared Andorra Co-Principality, ruled by the King of France (modernly the president of France) and the Bishop of Urgell. This alliance has helped Andorra remain neutral in any conflicts between France and Spain. Currently, the “monarchs” are Macron and the Bishop of Urgell, Joan Enric Vives Sicilia. The country has flourished under this co-principality system, increasing its population by 1700% since 1900.  

Many may be wondering, well, why would this affect us as students and as Americans? While the election of a new Andorran co-prince might not have an impact on our lives, Emmanuel Macron’s election will definitely have an effect on our lives, now and in the future. Emmanuel Macron is a fierce European Union proponent, as opposed to his election counterpart. According to the United Nations, as of 2015, the European Union has the largest GDP in the world. This powerful union could one day became a global superpower. With Brexit, a possible “Frexit” would finish the European Union. France is also one of the most influential world powers and, despite being an ocean away, they have a huge impact on the United States of America

 

Photo Credits to Le Club de Mediapart

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