France poised for divisive election

By Marta Garde

Paris, Apr 23 (EFE).- France is on the brink of a potentially pivotal presidential election between the incumbent centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen but between those two candidates lies a chunk of voters who feel represented by neither and thus make the results tough to predict.

“France has been broken for some time, and unfortunately it will continue to be,” 72-year-old Martine told Efe.

“We have a revolutionary spirit and unfortunately I don’t think that will change, it’s in our DNA,” she added during a conversation at the open-air Saxe-Breteuil market in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, where Macron scooped a comfortable 48.47% share of the votes in the first ballot on April 10.

“We’re lucky to have such a good president. He’s done everything he can considering the challenges he had to face, that is, Covid, the yellow vests (protests). I don’t think he’ll have an issue being re-elected, the issues will come later, it will be very hard to govern and make the reforms he wants,” she said.

It’s not hard to find Macron voters in this up-heeled district of Paris.

“For me he is the only one who can be president, the others are not up to scratch,” Jean-Paul, 81, told Efe.

He was not surprised when Le Pen made it to the presidential runoff with 23.15% of the vote compared to Macron’s 27.85%.

“There are a lot of issues and people think Le Pen will resolve them all. I think that’s an illusion,” the former finance worker added.

At the Belleville market in Paris’ multi-cultural and working-class 11th arrondissement, where the left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon took 36.26% of the vote, the discontent is more palpable.

“I voted for Mélenchon in the first round and now I don’t know whether to vote blank or Macron,” Elizabeth, 55, told Efe.

In her opinion, “there are two Frances that don’t understand one another, given they don’t communicate. The big failure of the Left is not knowing how to speak to the working class.”

Voting in the second round of the presidential election begins Sunday.EFE


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