Race against time: will the Fifth Republic get a new president
Ahead of the second round of the French presidential election, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is closing the gap with Emmanuel Macron, according to the latest poll. Meanwhile, former President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out in support of the current head of the Republic, praising him for his “commitment to Europe.”
A new opinion poll has shown far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is closing the gap with Emmanuel Macron ahead of the second round of the presidential election.
According to the Daily Mail, the OpinionWay-Kea Partners poll published by Les Echos and Radio Classique on Tuesday showed Le Pen narrowed the gap by one point as voter turnout continued to fall, although if the poll is to be believed, Macron still wins the runoff with 54 percent of the vote.
Voter turnout estimates fell even further – by 1 percent to 70 percent – from 74.56 percent in 2017, already the lowest since 1969.
On Tuesday, former Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would vote for centrist Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election against Marine Le Pen on April 24.
Sarkozy praised Macron's “commitment” to Europe as “clear and unequivocal”.
“I will vote for Emmanuel Macron because I think he has the necessary experience in the face of a serious international crisis. His economic project puts the value of work as a top priority, and his commitment to Europe is clear and unequivocal,” Sarkozy said ahead of the second round of voting.
our governance culture should lead us to respond to Emmanuel Macron's call for unity,” he said.
Marine Le Pen, 53, won a second round against the incumbent in the French election after receiving 23.15% of the vote in the first round on Sunday, just four points behind Macron.
The two finalists will now go head-to-head on April 24, with polls predicting a much tougher showdown than their 2017 battle, with National Rally leader Le Pen predicted to win 49 percent of the vote in the runoff in margin of error for victory.
Sarkozy's comments come just days after the candidate of his own conservative party, which he publicly refused to support, lost in the first round of the election. Valerie Pekress won just 4.8% of the vote on Sunday. This puts the Republicans in dire financial straits, as the party failed to reach the five percent threshold above which campaign expenses are reimbursed by the state. On Monday, Pecresse called for urgent donations to ensure her party's survival.
While many of the first-round losing candidates urged their supporters not to support Le Pen in the second round, including far-left leader Jean -Luc Mélenchon, her populist message centered on the cost of living crisis resonates across the political spectrum, writes the Daily Mail.
Sophie Pedder, The Economist's Paris bureau chief, told BBC Today: “She's very popular with voters, workers, underpaid employees, service workers, people who struggle with paying their bills at the end of the month, who have real difficulties with the price of gasoline for their cars. Many of them live in rural areas or areas where they need cars to get to work. This emphasis she places on the cost of living fits in very well with Mélenchon's supporters on the radical left.”
Throughout the campaign, Le Pen visited markets in towns and villages to meet with working-class voters, where anti-yellow vest protests flared up, promoting the idea that Macron had divided France and she was the one to unite it.
Le Pen claims that he is no longer the “big, bad wolf” of politics and positions himself as a unifying and kind figure.
An Ifop poll in March found that less than half of French people thought she was “intimidating.” Meanwhile, analysis of the polls by The Telegraph showed that 53% of voters intend to vote for Macron, and 47% for Le Pen.
In her Sunday speech, Le Pen portrayed herself as a unifying figure who will heal the “rifts » France and stop the 'chaos' caused by Macron, a former banker who, she said, personified the 'power of money'.
One Le Pen supporter says: “She did a great campaign, she was good all the time, she was close to the people. She was not shown on TV too much, she was more with us on the field, in the cities. She did everything right. The difference is that in 2017 people voted for Macron because he was new and we didn't know him, so we thought, “Well, let's try.” We tried it, and it turned out terrible.”
Last week, sociologist Brice Teinturier of Ipsos found that more people expect their position and position in the country to improve if Marine Le Pen is elected instead of Macron.
Macron kicks off his campaign for a runoff by visiting former mining areas in the industrial centers of Les Pens in northern France, in a first sign that workers will be the main battlefield in the election.
As the 12 candidates in the first round dwindle to two, now presidential finalists should aim to appeal to about 50 percent of voters who had other preferences in the first round.
In past elections at the national, regional and municipal levels, voters of the left and right have historically banded together to keep the far right out of power, a phenomenon known as the “republican front”.
Although all major candidates, including the conservative Republicans and the Socialist Party supported Macron in the second round on Sunday evening, it is unclear whether their voters will follow him. What's more, their low single digit scores were so pathetic that their support doesn't matter much. Analysts say the left's vote is likely to be split, with Macron going to have a third, Le Pen to a third and abstention to a third.
The face-to-face meeting in the second round between Le Pen and Macron is a repeat of the 2017 presidential election, when the results of the first round were 24.01% for Macron and 21.03% for Le Pen. Macron then beat Le Pen with 66% of the vote in the second round.
But experts say this election will be very different: voters are disillusioned after five years of the centrist president's globalist and pro-European policies, and Le Pen seeks to unite voters with his anti-Macronian message.
Bruno Gollnisch, a former National Front MP, said: “I think the circumstances are very different from five years ago because many people are disappointed with Mr Macron's policies. Whether on the right or on the left, the real discussion will now be between globalism on the one hand and the difference of national identity on the other.”
Marin became leader of the Front National in 2011 after her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, and since then she has been trying to improve the image of the party, which its critics accuse of racism and Holocaust denial. The National Front has since been renamed the National Rally, and in 2015 Marin expelled her father from the party he co-founded in the 1970s for repeating his view that the Holocaust was a mere a “detail” of World War II.
But in a rare show of support, Jean-Marie Le Pen congratulated his daughter Sunday night on a “remarkable campaign” and predicted her election victory.
On In this election, Marine Le Pen's campaign was quiet, professional, without major gaffes, and she looked more suited to the presidency than her far-right rival, the controversial commentator Eric Zemmour, who received seven percent of the vote.
French newspaper Le Monde described the second round of elections on April 24 as a struggle between “France of leaders and pensioners against France of employees and workers, cities against the periphery, European integration against national sovereignty.”