President faces two-week runoff battle with far-right opponent
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen to face each other in French presidential run-off
The pair finished in first and second place in Sunday’s first-round vote, and Mr Macron travelled to a poorer area of northern France on Monday which gave its backing to Ms Le Pen and her National Rally party, ahead of two weeks of campaigning.
Opinion polls show Mr Macron is ahead but Ms Le Pen, whose team will meet on Monday to discuss their strategy for the 24 April second round vote, is not far behind.
Mr Macron said he wants to convince those who voted for “extremes” that “our project responds much more seriously to their fears and to the challenges of the time”.
Ms Le Pen’s campaign wants to focus on the rise of food and energy prices and anger at Mr Macron over policies seen as benefitting the rich.
Neighbour Luxembourg ‘very worried’ at prospect of Le Pen victory
Victory for Marine Le Pen would be a worrying prospect for the European Union, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has said.
“I am very worried, I hope that we won’t get Le Pen as French president”, Mr Asselborn said before a meeting with fellow European ministers.
“It would not only be a break away from the core values of the EU, it would totally change its course. The French need to prevent this.”
Tom Batchelor11 April 2022 09:42
What are the candidates policies?
Here is what the candidates are proposing:
Emmanuel Macron, La Republique En Marche
- Progressively raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 and boost the minimum monthly pension
- Six new-generation nuclear reactors, develop solar energy and wind farms at sea.
- Strengthening external borders of the European passport-free area and creating a new force to better control national borders
- Speed up processing of asylum and residence permit applications and to deport those who aren’t eligible
- Make some welfare benefits conditional on 15-20 hours of training, similar to policies in countries such as the UK
- Unemployment insurance, which currently guarantees workers up to two thirds of their salary for two years if they lose their job, would be linked to the strength of the economy
Marine Le Pen, National Rally
- Ending family reunification policies, restrict social benefits to the French only and deport foreigners who stay unemployed for over a year
- Implement a “Buy French” policy for public tenders
- Cut the minimum retirement age to 60 for those who started work before 2
- Scrap income tax for those aged under 30, and cut VAT on energy to 5.5 per cent from 20 per cent
- Dismantle windfarms and invest in nuclear and hydro energy
- A law banning Muslim headscarves in all public places, and outlawing events and financing considered to be spreading “Islamism”
Tom Batchelor11 April 2022 09:31
Macron campaigns in northern France with warning ‘nothing decided yet’
Emmanuel Macron will take his campaign to win extra votes to the industrial heartlands of northern France on Monday.
The president will visit a blue-collar stronghold of his far-right rival Marine Le Pen who he will face in an April 24 presidential runoff vote.
“Let’s make no mistake, nothing has been decided yet,” he told his supporters after partial results showed him qualifying for the runoff.
He criticised his far-right rival over the financing of her populist economic agenda that would see the retirement age cut to 60 for those who start work before 20, income tax scrapped for the under-30s and VAT on energy reduced to 5.5% from 20%.
Mr Macron added: “Do you want a France that speaks of full employment and is serious about financing its welfare state, its pensioners, its schools, hospitals and public services?”
Tom Batchelor11 April 2022 09:13
Macron on 27%, Le Pen on 23% after first round voting
With nearly all of the votes now counted, Emmanuel Macron has just over 27 per cent and Marine Le Pen has just under 24 per cent. Hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon was third, missing out on the two-candidate runoff, with close to 22 per cent.
The result for Ms Le Pen is the best result a presidential candidate for National Rally has ever received in the first round.
Mr Macron’s share is the best first-round-vote performance for an incumbent president since 1988.
Tom Batchelor11 April 2022 09:07
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the French presidential election a day after the public cast their ballots in a first round vote that put Emmanuel Macron out in front, with Marine Le Pen following close behind.
Tom Batchelor11 April 2022 08:55
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in