The front page of the left-leaning newspaper Libération reads “Honey, you forgot the left,” above a photo of President Macron running at full speed along the road, to the left of the photo.
On Tuesday, Macron literally ran toward a group of voters who were waiting in a nursing home in Mulhouse in northeastern France. In Mulhouse, more than one in three voters voted for leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of the presidential election.
An upset group of health care workers came face to face with the president and demanded better working conditions and wages. The president defended himself, highlighting the things that have been done over the past five years and promising to “go further”.
Takes steps back
When Emmanuel Macron was elected five years ago, he struck a balance to attract voters from both the right and the left. His motto then was “at one time” – France will have strong growth and strong prosperity “at the same time”. But during his tenure, he has slipped to the right and most of his new voters are also to the right, according to opinion polls. Among them is the scandal-ridden ex-president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Protests have erupted repeatedly, as when Macron first proposed a higher retirement age two years ago.
During the election campaign, the president revived this idea – raising the general retirement age from 62 to 65 – while the left-wing radical Mélenchon, on the contrary, said he wanted to lower it.
Now, between election rounds, he says he’s listening and can accept some change.
– I do not intend to stand here and say that I change my position from day to day, but I am open to a discussion and am ready to add the items of review, Macron said in Mulhouse, according to local radio.
Alongside this, new left-wing proposals are being launched, for example that employees in various ways should be allowed to take a greater share of the pie in the burgeoning large corporations.
“Just a pickpocket”
The rapidly increasing support for nationalist leader Marine Le Pen is largely attributable to the fact that she focused less on immigration and more on purchasing power, and many wallets increasingly empty French families.
All the French are aware that Emmanuel Macron’s retirement is just an electoral ploy to lure left-wing voters, she says, according to Le Monde newspaper, among others.
– I have no confidence in Emmanuel Macron, but even less than ten days before the second round of elections.
Le Pen has stated that her campaign promises – under the slogan “Give the French their land and their money” – have greater chances of creating strong welfare.
During a visit to Normandy on Tuesday, I also promised that people would be able to participate and decide on more issues through referendums. At that press conference, several major media outlets were closed, among them the BBC and the ever-swinging satirical program Quotidien, which nonetheless raised questions about the voices it wanted to hear.
Shortly thereafter, Emmanuel Macron described Le Pen’s actions as “the far right showing its true face.”
In the last election, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, apparently reluctantly, urged his voters to vote for Emmanuel Macron. This time, he stopped to discourage them from voting for Marine Le Pen.
Both Le Pen and Macron have “social injustice” policies, but they cannot be equalized, according to the left-wing leader. Le Pen’s policies have another element: “dangerous, intoxicating, racial and religious exclusion,” he declared in a letter to his constituents.
Two large polls showed that nearly half of Melenchon voters did not want to vote at all in the second round. Among other things, Emmanuel Macron has some advantages over Marine Le Pen.
Currently weighted polls indicate that Macron will win the election again, albeit by a margin of only a few percentage points.
Facts: Macron and Le Pen
Emmanuel Macron (born in 1977) is the President of France since 2017 and the country’s youngest leader since Napoleon. Macron is from northern France Amiens and was initially a participant in the PS. He was an economic advisor to President François Hollande and Minister of Economic Affairs since 2014, before leaving in 2016 and starting his central movement, Republic on the Road (LREM). He is married to Brigitte (born 1953) who was previously a teacher at his high school. The couple has no children. However, she has three since previous marriages.
Marine Le Pen (born 1968) is one of three daughters of far-right warrior Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the National Front party in 1972 – now renamed the National Assembly (RN). Marin is a trained lawyer, but since the late 1990s a full-time politician, since 2011 as a leading figure in the party rather than the father. She placed third in the 2012 presidential election and second in the 2017 election. She was previously married to fellow party members Frank Chafroy and Eric Iorio and has three children with the first.
Facts: first round
This is how things went for the twelve candidates in the first round of the presidential election:
Emmanuel Macron (LREM Centre): 27.84 percent
Marine Le Pen (Nationalist RN): 23.15
Jean-Luc Melenchon (FI): 21.95
Eric Zemmour (far right, recovery movement): 7.07
Valerie Pecresse (LR Governor): 4.78
Yannick Gadot (EELV Green Party): 4.63
Jean LaSalle (Right Movement, We Resist) 3.13
Fabian Roussel (Communist Party): 2.28
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (far right DLF): 2.06
Anne Hidalgo (PSD): 1.75.00
Philip Bhutto (far left NPA): 0.77
Natalie Arthod (Trotsky LO): 0.56
“Unapologetic writer. Bacon enthusiast. Introvert. Evil troublemaker. Friend of animals everywhere.”