Emmanuel Macron will retain the French presidency for another five years after defeating Marine Le Pen by 17 percentage points, but she secured the far right's highest share of the vote yet. 

Mabel Berezin is a comparative sociologist at Cornell University whose work explores fascist, nationalist and populist movements in Europe and associated threats to democracy.

Berezin says:

“This was Marine Le Pen’s third try for the presidency and in every try she gains more votes.  This is not due to her political skill alone – although she is a far better politician than she often gets credit for.

“In her feisty concession speech, Le Pen said, ‘we can change the future.’ And what future is that? We need to go back to the first round where candidates from the center right to the extreme right received a total of 34% of the vote – higher than either Macron or Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

“While Le Pen lost in every category in the second round, the striking statistic is economic – a theme she ran on. According to a post-election poll, 59% of those struggling to make ends meet voted for Le Pen, versus 66% of those with no financial struggles that voted for Macron.

“The combination of an emerging organized nationalist right, with a significant segment of the French population experiencing daily precarity almost guarantees that Le Pen will continue to be an influential voice in French politics.”