‘The way forward is moderation’: Macron must fight alone against French extremism

France's divisions shown by extreme left and right says expert

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Roland Lescure, from Macron’s En Marche party, said that it was “not a surprise” that France was experiencing extreme division following a difficult pandemic and “war at the doorsteps of Europe”. But ahead of the second round of Presidential elections, he said it was now Macron’s duty alone to prove to France that the extreme politics offered by his opponent Marine Le Pen is not in the best interests of the public.

Speaking to Channel 4 news, Lescure said that the failure of centrist parties to secure sufficient votes in the first round pointed to the “divided” nature of the French republic.

He said: “It portrays a pretty divided country, yes. But you live in a country that has been pretty divided, too, on other issues.

“And you can see the same phenomenon in the State, in Hungary, in Poland.

“We are at a very difficult crossroads. We’re getting out of a pandemic, we’re getting out of a very difficult economic crisis, and we’ve got war at the doorsteps of Europe.

“It’s not necessarily a surprise that countries get divided. We’ve had globalisation, winners and losers, we’ve got the countryside and the urban cities.

“We’ve got people who have gained from the last 30 years of economic development and people who feel that they have lost.

“The way it expresses itself in France is extreme right and extreme left.

“The idea of Emmanuel Macron, who is now the only man standing, is to convince the majority of people that the way forward is moderation, optimism and progress in Europe.”

Both the moderate left Socialist Party and the centrist right Soyons Libres, which split from former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Les Republicains in 2017, failed to secure more than five percent of the Presidential vote yesterday.

Mayor of Paris and leader of the Socialist Party Anne Hidalgo managed to gain only 1.8 percent on Sunday, while Valerie Pecresse secured only 4.8 percent of the vote for her right-wing party.

It means that both parties have failed to earn back their campaign funding, since they fell short of the five percent threshold.

Experts have warned that this will leave the long-standing parties on the brink of bankruptcy, with recovery a distant hope.

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Jean-Luc Melenchon, who represents the far-left party La France Insoumise, took a considerable 22 percent of the vote, suggesting that extremist politics accounts for almost half the nation if the 24 percent of Le Pen’s votes are included.

That leaves Macron as the only face of the moderate politique in France, and ahead of the head-to-head debate on April 20 he will need to convince the country that extremism is not what France needs.

Though Melenchon asked his voters to avoid at all costs switching to Le Pen in the second round, polls suggest that his supporters will either back Le Pen or abstain from the vote.

Le Pen has spent several months attempting to appeal to the anti-Macron left by championing herself as the voice of the people against the elite.

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