French President Emmanuel Macron is currently leading in opinion polls for the French presidential election. Presenting his platform today, he promised to guide the country through this new era of crisis if he wins the elections next month. According to Macron, the world is standing at a tipping point where France can make a difference.
Opinion polls show Macron’s lead over his rivals has widened further in recent weeks. His diplomatic efforts before and during the war in Ukraine are popular with his constituents. He is expected to win the first round of elections on April 10 and defeat each opponent in the run-off on April 24.
“We are at a turning point where we can make a real difference,” Macron said at today’s press conference. He spoke of “the return of tragedy,” referring to the war in Ukraine and the challenges of climate change. His campaign slogan “Avec Vous” (with you, editor) means, he says, “a long-term way” to stay in touch with the population and make the country more self-sufficient.
Macron has announced that he will continue to reform the labor market. The politician pointed to economic growth and declining unemployment in recent years. “Unemployment is the lowest in 15 years, youth unemployment is the lowest in 40 years and the employment rate is the highest since measurements began. These results cannot be overstated.”
He explained that his plan for France was based on “three philosophical convictions”: “the return of popular sovereignty,” “confidence in progress,” technological, scientific and social, and, finally, “humanitarian.” He said it was about making “historic choices sometimes”, both for France and for the European Union.
The president initially wants to make France more self-sufficient, and therefore expects large-scale investments in agriculture and industry, and the construction of more nuclear reactors. “The state will have to regain control over various aspects of the energy sector,” said Macron, who also wants energy price reform at the European level.
In addition, he calls for strengthening the army and increasing the defense budget. This also needs to be complemented by greater participation at the European level, he said.
Moreover, border protection should be improved, and rejected asylum seekers should be deported in the future without lengthy procedures.
Confidence in progress
Macron also wants to create a “European metaverse” that can compete with American tech giants and make Europe more independent in this field.
In addition, the money will also go towards home renovation subsidies and other measures to tackle climate change, such as access to affordable electric vehicles.
Macron wants to continue to focus on gender equality and equal opportunity policy. “Equal opportunity policies must be improved regardless of people’s origin and place of residence, including through a better education system and better support for single fathers,” he said. We need to tackle inequality at its roots. Education and healthcare are two major sources of inequality today.” That’s why he wants more students to go to college and invest more in healthcare.
At the same time, France needs to do more to integrate immigrants, for example through more language courses.
Macron also promised an annual tax cut of 15 billion euros and confirmed that the retirement age in France would gradually rise to 65 years. In the future, people receiving a basic income should also be able to work 15-20 hours a week.
Macron officially announced his candidacy only a week and a half ago, while the first round of the presidential election is already taking place on April 10. He has barely campaigned yet, but given his lead over main rival Marine Le Pen, that doesn’t seem necessary either. He has already announced that he will not participate in discussions with the other candidates.
Macron is sometimes accused of ruling from an ivory tower with rhetoric. The long press conference is seen as an attempt to increase accessibility. It has kept journalists in trouble for the past five years.
While Macron’s (failed) efforts to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine have drawn opponents’ scorn, his handling of the crisis and the coronavirus pandemic has created a sense of national unity that Macron benefits from. According to observers, the protests of the yellow vest movement have subsided in recent years, in part due to his actions.
Opinion polls show Macron will win as much as 30.5 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election, up from last month, when about 25 percent of voters polled said they would vote for him.
Marine Le Pen’s right-wing populist (National Rally) currently receives 17.5 percent of the vote in opinion polls. Far-right Eric Zemmour had 13 percent. Left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon took 12.5 percent and 10.5 percent over conservative liberal Valérie Pecresse.
If no candidate receives an absolute majority of votes in the first round of elections on April 10 – which is likely – another round will follow two weeks later among the most popular participants. If Macron wins, he will then need his party La Republique en Marche (LaRem) to win the parliamentary elections in June in order to aggressively implement his platform. However, LaRem lost in all recent local elections.
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