Left-Wing Parties in France Coalesce in Response to Macron’s Reelection

Photo Credit: Richard Ying et Tangui Morlier

By Lilit Arakelyan
Staff Writer

Far-left political parties in France have formed a rare coalition in response to the results of the 2022 French Presidential Elections. On April 24, 2022, the incumbent candidate President Emmanuel Macron, founder and leader of the centrist liberal Le Marche Republique party, was reelected to his second five-year presidential term.

Representing liberal voters, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon was defeated by centrist leader Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen of the National Rally party during the preliminary elections that would determine which candidates would advance to the final elections in April. Following the showdown between Macron and Le Pen, a coalition between the Socialist, Communist, and Green parties of France was formed under the leadership of Mélenchon and his La France Insoumise (LFI) party. 

Without control of the executive branch, the minority liberalist parties have reportedly allied with the intentions of gaining plurality in parliament to prevent a legislative majority for Macron and centrists during the upcoming June parliamentary elections. 

LFI lawmaker Adrien Quatennens told Franceinfo radio, “We can and will beat Emmanuel Macron and we can do it with a majority to govern for a radical program.”

The convergence of left-wing parties is considered rare as the left has not united for over two decades. Historically, Mélenchon has been unsuccessful in luring voters of other left-wing parties to align with the LFI. The recent news of the coalition also comes in light of Mélenchon’s announcement of his intent to campaign for prime minister—another attempt to stymie the reform agenda that the left largely opposes.

Bongbong Marcos, Son of Former Dictator, Elected in Philippine Presidential Election

Photo Credit: Bongbong Marcos

By Manuel Aguilera-Prieto
Staff Writer

The Phillipine presidential elections were held on May 10, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of former President Marcos Sr., is poised to secure a victory against his opponent, incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo. At the time of publication, Marcos has more than double the votes than his closest opponent. There have been reports of malfunctioning voting machines, though the elections commitee has dismissed these cases and will not consider a recount. 

This election marks the end of a remarkable and controversial Duterte administration, which oversaw a fierce anti-drug campaign. However, it seems likely that Marcos’ presidency will parallel that of his predecessor’s, based on their shared strongman legacies. Moreover, polls indicate that Sara Duterte, daughter of the current president, will assume the office of the vice presidency.

Marcos Jr.’s ascendence to the presidency follows a familiar and historical trend. Despite being the first constitutional republic in Asia, democracy has long been secondary to other interests, such as combating corruption, widespread violence, and more recently, a war on drugs. Filipinos have continually sought to tackle these problems by electing strong, authoritative, and often oppressive leaders. Marcos Sr., president from 1965-85, oversaw an autocratic government which imposed martial law for most of his tenure. Years later, President Joseph Estrada embarked on a belligerent campaign against Muslim rebels in the Mindanao region, not unlike Duterte’s war on drugs. The election of Marcos Jr. continues this historical narrative, and should come as no surprise.

Despite efforts to rehabilitate the Marcos family name, Bongbong’s image will continue to be distorted by his parents’ polarizing legacy. He has asked citizens to judge him not by his ancestors, but by his actions.

War in Ukraine Causing a Global Food Crisis

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Isana Raja

The war in Ukraine has caused more than just a rise in gas prices—it’s actively contributing to a global food shortage. Ukraine and Russia account for a crucial portion of the world’s wheat, barley, corn, and sunflower oil exports; by some measures up to 12% of global caloric trade. Sanctions against Russia combined with Ukraine’s inability to export during the war has meant that large supplies of food have become trapped in supply chain limbo. 

For countries across the Middle East and Africa, which are highly dependent on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia, famine and starvation are imminent. Eleven countries, including Armenia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Eritrea import 70% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia; Thirty equatorial and Global South countries import 30% or greater, while the region of East Africa imports 90%. This comes as these countries are already facing food insecurity and famine from the pandemic, droughts, and ongoing conflict. 

Sanctions placed on Russian fertilizer are further compounding the crisis. Russia exports around 17% of the global fertilizer supply. As a result, many farmers in countries such as Mongolia and Serbia—who import more than 50% of their fertilizer from Russia—are unable to yield sufficient crops and livestock. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that the number of hungry people across the world could balloon to between 8 million and 13 million as a result of the war in Ukraine. Those dependent on humanitarian aid, such as the people of Yemen and Afghanistan, will be hit the hardest. Additionally, the World Food Program has resorted to cutting daily rations for 3.8 million people in order to provide a degree of assistance to as many people as possible—essentially “taking food from the hungry to give to the starving.