Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Macron, Le Pen launch runoff campaign for French presidential

PARIS ( Associated Press) – French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that he would appeal to a wide range of French voters, starting a two-week battle against far-right challenger Marine Le Pen before the country’s presidency. Want to support centrist vision. Runoff vote.

Meanwhile, Le Pen is gearing up for battle, eager to highlight rising energy and food prices, which have hit poor households particularly hard recently as Macron seeks a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. focused his efforts.

Both candidates came out on top in Sunday’s first-round presidential election, replaying the April 24 of their duel in 2017. Macron defeated Le Pen for the presidency five years ago, but all opinion polls show that the leader of the national rally is much closer to a possible victory this time.

The outcome of France’s presidential election will have widespread international ramifications as Europe struggles to contain the havoc devastated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Macron has strongly supported EU sanctions on Russia, while Le Pen is concerned about their impact on France’s standard of living. Macron is also a strong supporter of NATO and maintains close cooperation among the 27 members of the European Union.

Macron went on Monday to an economically vulnerable region of northern France, where a majority of voters had chosen Le Pen, close to his electoral stronghold Henin-Beaumont.

“I am here, and I am determined to fight,” the 44-year-old president said during his visit to the city of Denan, adding that he has heard the concerns of those who struggle to find jobs and earn more. Pennies.

“They need to be reassured,” he said.

For his part, Le Pen met with officials at the National Rally to plan his strategy for the runoff and to speak about rising prices and “make strong, urgent decisions to protect the purchasing power of the French”. He visited a grain grower in the Burgundy region. This theme has been at the core of his campaign this year, but Macron’s team argues that, because of the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, France does not have the financial means to fulfill the promises of Le Pen’s campaign.

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Macron said he wanted to present in court those who voted for “extremism” or chose to stay at home. He met residents of Denan, many of whom criticized his proposed pension changes, including raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65.

Dennain Mayor Anne-Lise Dufour-Tonini told reporters she would vote for Macron “without hesitation” in the second round, but intended to push for more “left-wing resolutions”.

Several of the 10 presidential candidates who lost in the first round on Sunday encouraged voters to choose Macron in the second round, including the conservative candidate Valerie Pecrese and the Green and Socialist candidate. Pecres warned of “anarchy to come” if Le Pen is elected.

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came third in Sunday’s vote, urged voters not to choose Le Pen, explicitly suggesting that staying at home could also be an option.

Le Pen was supported by the other far-right candidate, who lost, former TV pundit Eric Zemour.

On her third attempt to become France’s first female president, Le Pen was rewarded on Sunday for her years of effort to rebrand herself as less extreme. However, Macron is not buying it, accusing Le Pen of pushing a dangerous manifesto of racist, destructive policies. Le Pen wants to take back certain rights for Muslims, ban them from wearing headscarves in public, and significantly reduce immigration from outside Europe.

Macron and Le Pen are due to debate on national television next week.

“Our focus is now on the project and the values,” said San Francois Patriot, a member of Macron’s party.

Meanwhile, Le Pen’s camp is hoping to cash in on Macron’s anger over policies seen as favoring the rich.

“Everything is possible now,” said Aurelian López Liguari, a councilor from Le Pen’s party in the southern city of Sete, adding that compared to 2017, “Macron now has a record, a bad record.”

French minister for European affairs Clement Beaune told the Associated Press that only five years ago “Le Pen was proposing – let’s not forget – to leave the euro, to break up Europe when Brexit and Frexit were trendy.”

Le Pen has dropped earlier threats to pull France out of the European Union and give up the common euro currency if elected, but some of his proposals, including establishing national border controls, go against EU rules.

With all first round votes counted on Monday, Macron had 27.8% support, Le Pen held 23.1% and Mélénchon close third with 22%.


John Leicester and Alain Ganley contributed in Paris.


Follow all Associated Press stories on the French presidential election https://apnews.com/hub/french-election-2022

Nation World News Desk
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