Macron Seeks Second Term In French Election Next Month

A file photo of French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo by Sergei GUNEYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

 

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday that he will seek a second term in office at elections next month, with Russia’s war in Ukraine likely to eclipse the campaign but boost his chances.

Macron formally announced his attempt to become the first French president to be re-elected in 20 years in a letter to the French people published online by numerous news sites.

There was little suspense about the 44-year-old’s intentions, but the announcement has been repeatedly delayed because of the crisis in eastern Europe that has seen Macron take a prominent role in diplomatic talks.

Read Also: Macron Fears ‘Worst To Come’ After Call With Putin

“I’m a candidate to invent, with you, and faced with the challenges of this century, a singular French and European response,” he said.

“I am a candidate to defend our values that are threatened by the disruptions of the world,” he added.

Macron acknowledged that the election would not be a normal one due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“Of course, I will not be able to campaign as I would have liked because of the context,” he said, while vowing to “explain our project with clarity and commitment”.

Ahead of Friday’s deadline for candidates to stand, polls widely show him as the frontrunner in the two-round election on April 10 and 24, with the war focusing attention on foreign policy rather than the domestic issues favoured by his opponents.

“In a crisis, citizens always get behind the flag and line up behind the head of state,” said Antoine Bristielle, a public opinion expert at the Jean-Jaures Foundation, a Paris think-tank.

“The other candidates are inaudible. In every media, all anyone is talking about is the invasion,” he told AFP.

One ruling party MP told AFP this week the Ukraine crisis meant that Macron’s rivals were “boxing on their own”, while several polls have shown his personal ratings rising.

The former investment banker admitted in a national address on Wednesday night that the crisis had “hit our democratic life and the election campaign” but promised “an important democratic debate for the country” would take place.

Voter surveys currently tip the centrist to win the first round of the election with 26 percent and then triumph in the April 24 run-off irrespective of his opponent.

Rivals

After five tumultuous years in office, Macron’s biggest challenge comes from opponents on his right who accuse him of being lax on immigration, soft on crime and slow to defend French culture.

These include the conservative Valerie Pecresse from the Republican party, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and anti-Islam media pundit Eric Zemmour.

On the left, four mainstream candidates are competing, which is expected to split the vote and lead to all of them being eliminated in the first round.

Socialist Party candidate Anne Hidalgo said the announcement was “not a surprise.”

“The Democratic debate, of one programme versus another that I have been calling for months, can finally take place,” she said in a statement.

Macron’s camp has been looking for the right moment to launch his candidacy since early February, but the Ukraine crisis has seen his agenda filled with either foreign trips or talks with other leaders.

He spoke for the third time in a week to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and again with Ukrainian counterpart President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Striking a note of humility, Macron added in his letter that “we have not got everything right”.

“There are choices that after the experience I gained with you I would have no doubt made differently,” he said.

A recent poll by the Elabe group, published March 1, showed that confidence in Macron’s “ability to tackle the main problems of the country” was up a massive five points in a month.

Another by the Harris Interactive group showed 58 per cent of French people held a favourable view of his handling of the Ukraine crisis

Allies of the president are quietly confident, but analysts warn that many voters remain undecided and that sentiment can swing sharply in the final weeks of campaigning.

France’s Roller-Coaster Election Campaign Draws To A Close

France’s 2017 election campaign has felled some of the biggest beasts in French politics, and left two relative outsiders competing for the top job — one who opposes globalisation and the EU, the other a total unknown to the general public the last time the country went to the polls.

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron go head-to-head in the second round of the presidential election on Sunday, with Macron the runaway favourite to win and take the Elysee.

Current President Francois Hollande had been widely expected to run for re-election until he bowed out before Christmas to leave his Socialist party – bruised and battered after five years in power – to find a successor.

Macron Source: Official Leweb Photos

On the right, former prime minister Francois Fillon emerged as the surprise winner of the conservative party’s primary, beating former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and became the favourite in the presidential election.

But his campaign derailed spectacularly on January 25 when the Canard Enchaine newspaper published allegations he had kept his wife on the public payroll for years without her ever having actually done any work.

He fiercely denied the allegations but the damage was done; prosecutors opened an investigation and his poll ratings plummeted.

The party flirted with deposing him in favour of a unity candidate but when no obvious replacement emerged they rallied round, with Fillon defiant at a rain-soaked rally in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on March 5.

Fillon’s campaign woes left space on the centre ground for Macron whose political party – “En Marche!” Or “Onwards” – included an army of volunteers, many of them disaffected former supporters of the mainstream left and right parties.

Buoyed by success in European and regional elections after a successful “detoxification” of the party brand, Le Pen was widely expected to make the run-off round.

She had legal troubles of her own, investigated for misuse of EU funds to pay for party assistants but scored a diplomatic coup with a visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.

The campaign of the official Socialist party candidate Benoit Hamon failed to take off and firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon reaped the benefits with a well-executed internet campaign, packed meetings and a multi-city rally at which he appeared by hologram.

An attack on the Champs Elysees which killed police officer Xavier Jugele halted campaigning two days before the end of the first round.

Macron came out top of the April 23 vote with 24 percent, joined in the run-off by Le Pen.

The traditional Socialist and conservative parties of left and right were battered, with politicians on all sides calling for voters to back Macron to bar Le Pen’s path to power.

The campaign for the second round was rocky for both candidates, with Le Pen scoring early points on a visit to a Whirlpool factory in Northern France slated for closure at which she posed for selfies with workers, before Macron was booed at the same plant hours later.

But Le Pen was widely seen as coming off worse in a TV debate aired on May 3 and Macron’s poll lead widened.

An Ifop-Fiducial survey on Friday afternoon, hours before official campaigning closed at midnight, showed Macron on course to win 63 percent of votes in the second round and Le Pen 37 percent, the best score for Macron recorded by a major polling organization since mid-April.

If he does win, his victory would mark a generational shift at the top and at 39 he would become the youngest president in the history of France’s Fifth republic.

Reuters

Macron stretches lead as French presidential campaign enters final day

Macron Source: Official Leweb Photos

Centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron extended his lead in the polls over his far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Friday, the final day of a tumultuous election campaign that has turned the country’s politics upside down.

The election is seen as the most important in France for decades with two diametrically opposed views of Europe and France’s place in the world at stake.
Le Pen told RTL radio she was confident she possessed the backing of the people and that Macron’s programme was one of “social deconstruction”.

According to an Elabe poll for BFM TV and L’Express, Macron will get 62 per cent of the votes in the second round compared to 38 per cent for Le Pen, an increase of three points for the centrist candidate compared to his projected score in the last Elabe poll.

Macron’s strong showing in a debate on Wednesday and another poll this week that showed his En Marche! (Onwards!) political movement was likely to emerge as the biggest party in the June legislative elections have lifted the mood among investors who had worried about the upheaval a Le Pen victory could cause.

Reuters

French Elections: Macron, Le Pen Advance To Second Round

Courtesy: theguardian.com

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen have both advanced to the second rounds of the French elections.

With 79 per cent of Sunday’s votes counted, Mr Macron stands on 23.8 per cent with Mrs Le Pen on 21.5 per cent.

It is the first time in 60 years that neither of France’s main left-wing or right-wing parties has had a candidate in the second round.

Their nearest challengers, centre-right François Fillon and hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, fell behind, with just over 19 per cent each.

The second round of the elections will comes up on May 7.