Macron given unlikely boost by Putin as ‘no one wants an anti-EU president now’

Marine Le Pen blames Macron for dependency on Russian oil

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Emmanuel Macron is seeking re-election in the first round of voting in the French election on Sunday and faces 11 other candidates for the presidency. While the La République En Marche! leader is expected to secure his second term in office, the race is tight, with Rassemblement National’s Marine Le Pen closing the gap that Mr Macron easily widened in 2017. Now, however, political commentators believe that Putin’s bloody war in Ukraine could see Mr Macron achieve his goal, as the public’s appetite for uncertainty and volatility dwindles. 

Frédérique Carrier, a strategist at RBC Wealth Management, told that Putin’s war had “dulled the appeal of eurosceptic parties, both on the far-right and far-left”. 

She said that anti-establishment parties had “often cited Russian President Vladimir Putin as a role model” in previous rhetoric, which will be off-putting to voters in the current climate. 

Ms Carrier said: “This likely reduces the risk of an anti-EU government being elected in France…and probably positions the bloc more firmly in the centre.”

Indeed, Ms Le Pen was forced to defend her links to Putin last month when a campaign leaflet featuring a photograph of her with the Russian leader was released.

Ms Carrier added that the Ukraine war is likely to completely “transform the European economic and geopolitical order” on matters including regional defence cooperation, green energy, attitudes towards refugees and fiscal discipline. 

With this in mind, it is even more likely that voters will opt for the incumbent at the ballot box. 

One pollster, Emmanuel Rivière of Kantar Public, who has monitored the opinion polls in the runup to this election, said: “There is genuine fear out there. There is an external threat. And when that happens, it makes people turn to the leader. 

“Deep down, they feel that now is not the time for division. It’s the rally-round-the-flag effect.”

He added: “It’s also very important for the French that their country still has an important role at a world level. 

“So when they see Macron talking to Putin, even at a very long table, it reassures them. 

“The French are very sensitive to the question of whether they still count in the world — and Macron makes them feel they do.”

And, French journalist-turned-political commentator Pierre Haski told the BBC: “Unless there is some freakish accident, there is almost no chance that Emmanuel Macron will not get re-elected next month.

“He has two elements working in his favour. One is the disarray of the opposition.

“The other is the international situation, which is playing almost incredibly into his hands. It’s turning into the most unexciting presidential election in living memory.”

But despite Mr Macron’s near-certain win, a look at the latest polls shows how the race has tightened in recent weeks. 

An Ipsos poll for France’s Le Monde newspaper showed Mr Macron would lead in the first round of votes on April 10, with 26.5 percent to Ms Le Pen’s 21.5 percent in second place. 

Those figures compared to 28 percent for Mr Macron and 17.5 percent for Ms Le Pen in the last poll conducted in late March, the pollster said. 

The latest poll also forecast that Mr Macron will beat Ms Le Pen in the second round run-off vote on April 24 by 54 percent to 46 percent. 

In 2017, the results painted a different picture. In the first round, Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen were up against one another with 21.01 percent to 21.3 percent respectively in the first round. 

But by the runoff, Mr Macron was leagues ahead, eventually taking the presidency with 66.1 percent of the vote against Ms Le Pen’s 33.9 percent. 

However, the general understanding that Mr Macron is all but guaranteed a win is believed to be a cause for concern among his team. 

French elections have a history of resulting in unexpected events – Mr Macron’s sudden rise to power is one of them.

If voters assume his victory is guaranteed, turnout could be low, and that could threaten the result. 

There is the additional concern that a small majority for the incumbent could embolden the opposition and make for a less impactful second term. 

Mr Macron’s party has failed to build grassroots support and polled disappointingly in regional, local and European elections, which does not bode well for his upcoming term. 

Many analysts foresee a splintered parliament possibly requiring complex negotiations, making the next few days crucial for Mr Macron and his campaign if they hope to build support. 

Source: Read Full Article