Emmanuel Macron and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Emmanuel Macron meeting the Dalai Lama in Paris on September 12, 2016
(Photo: Olivier Adam)

On Sunday May 7, 66.10% of voters in the second round of the French Presidential elections voted in favor of Emmanuel Macron, who becomes the eighth and youngest French President. Marine Le Pen, who was leading the extreme right party Le Front National and was running against Mr. Macron, secured 33.90% of the votes. The definitive results of elections will be known on Wednesday May 10.

“The International Campaign for Tibet would like to congratulate Mr. Emmanuel Macron for being successfully elected as the new French President. While ICT appreciates some of the efforts made by previous French governments on Tibet at the national, EU and UN levels, we call on President-elect Macron to amplify them and put human rights and the respect of the rule of law at the center of French relations with China,” said Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director based in Brussels.

Mr. Macron has met the Dalai Lama during his last visit to France in September 2016. Soon after, Mr. Macron posted on his Twitter account a photo of the Dalai Lama offering him a khata with the following comment: “J’ai vu le visage de la bienveillance” (“I have seen the face of kindness”). According to an aide of Mr. Macron, this meeting has allowed an exchange of views on “…freedom of religion and the role of religion in our societies.”

In a congratulation message to President-Elect Macron on 8 May, the Dalai Lama recalled his conversation with him: “It was an honour to meet with you in Paris last September. I very much appreciate the sentiments you expressed at that time. During my visits to your country over the years, I have been touched by the affection and friendship shown to me by people from all walks of life.”

The Dalai Lama also expressed his admiration for the spirit of the European Union saying, “As you know, I am an enthusiastic admirer of the spirit of the European Union –putting the wider community’s long-term common interest ahead of national and other local concerns. I hope the European Union will grow from strength to strength and that it will be a model for other continents to follow in times to come. Since France is one of the pillars of the European Union, I am confident that you will be able to play an active role in its successfully meeting the challenges that lie ahead.”

Born in Amiens in 1977, Mr Macron studied Philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, completed a Master in Public Affairs at Sciences Po, and graduated from the École nationale d’administration (ENA) in 2004. After graduating, Mr Macron worked as a financial inspector at the Ministry of Economy before joining Rothschild & Cie bank as an investment banker. He became an adviser to President Hollande as Deputy Secretary General at the Elysée before his appointment in 2014 as Minister of Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs under the government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. In 2016, he resigned from the Government and launched his political movement “En Marche” (On the Move).

Mr. François Bayrou, a centrist politician and the president of the Democratic Movement, who was a candidate in the 2002, 2007 and 2012 French presidential elections, actively supported Mr. Macron during his presidential campaign and could potentially be nominated to a key position in the new Government. Mr. Bayrou said in a letter in 2002 when questioned about his position on Tibet by a Tibet Support Group: “After 52 years of occupation, thousands of victims and the escape into exile of the Dalai Lama in India since 1959 accompanied by 100.000 Tibetans, the international com-munity has today the responsibility to find a solution to the question of Tibet.” He added, “I am convinced that only a dialogue with the Tibetan temporal and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, can put an end to this conflict.”

The next important events are the legislative elections scheduled to take place on June 11 and 18, 2017 to elect the 577 members of the 15th National Assembly. The results of these elections will determine if President Macron will be able or not to establish a parliamentary group representing the majority of the members of the Assembly.