France poised for election campaigns with Macron favorite to win

Paris, Mar 27 (EFE).- The campaign for April’s French presidential elections gets underway on Monday overshadowed by the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and the widely held conviction that incumbent Emmanuel Macron will win a new term in office.

Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are tipped for a run-off scheduled for April 24, although Macron’s advantage has been shrinking as the elections loom.

Macron’s lead has gone from 14 points to nine in just over two weeks, the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported on Sunday based on the last five polls.

The incumbent president, however, continues to lead the polls with an expected 28.4% of the vote in the first round scheduled for 10 April, followed by Le Pen (19.3%) and the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon (14%).

Although Macron’s lead does not appear to be under threat, the National Rally leader is consolidating her status as the likeliest candidate to face him in the second round.

“What I want is not to go to the run-off, but to win,” she told the France 2 network on Sunday.

“I think that in the next five years the people deserve something better than Macron’s policy of social looting, something better than seeing their purchasing power sink,” she added.

Le Pen does not appear to be concerned with the strength of Mélenchon, who in her opinion benefits from the disappearance of the left but is not a “serious alternative” to Macron.

This could be the veteran’s last presidential run. “A priori, if I am not elected I will not run again, but I will continue doing what I have been doing for years, that is, defending the French people,” she said.

For Macron, the challenge lies in positioning himself as a candidate beyond his role as president and in making it clear that he is still hungry for power.

In his own ranks, some people have urged caution. Interior minister Gérald Darmanin, admitted on Thursday that Le Pen could win, and the expected high rate of abstention, which could hit a record 30%, is cause for concern.

The rivalry between the two candidates, however, was put on hold on Sunday after a group of citizens booed Le Pen and stormed the set where she was speaking live from the Caribbean overseas territory of Guadeloupe.

“Violence in politics is intolerable. I condemn it most firmly because I defend democratic debate. I fight against Le Pen’s ideas, but with the greatest respect,” Macron told France 3.

Although the interviews and public rallies have been going on for weeks, candidates will kick into high gear from Monday when the campaigns officially kick off. EFE


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