The French President, Emmanuel Macronannounced on Thursday his candidacy for the presidential elections in April, amid fears from his rivals that the Russian offensive in Ukraine will overshadow the campaign and pave the way for his re-election.
“I am a candidate to create with you, a unique French and European response to the challenges of the century”, wrote Macron in a “Letter to the French”, published by various media 38 days after the first round.
LOOK: Putin tells Macron that his offensive in Ukraine is going as planned and “will intensify”
Tradition dictates that incumbent presidents wait until the last moment to announce whether they are up for re-election, but the war in Ukraine forced the current tenant of the Elysee to postpone his plans until the eve of the deadline.
Macron He had linked the long-awaited announcement to an improvement in the health situation and his mediation to de-escalate the crisis between Moscow and Kiev. The first goal was achieved. In the second case, Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine.
- Macron asks Lukashenko to withdraw Russian troops from Belarus
- Macron demands in a call to Putin to cease military operations
- Macron calls for Russia to “immediately” suspend the “war” against Ukraine
Despite the diplomatic failure, the centrist leader continues to lead the polls, followed by far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour, traditional right-wing candidate Valérie Pécresse and leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
The latest polls give the president between 25% and 28% of intention to vote in the first round scheduled for April 10, ahead of Le Pen (16% to 17%), Zemmour (14%), Pécresse (12 % to 13%) and Mélenchon (10.5% to 12.5%).
In 2017, Macron became the youngest elected president of France at the age of 39 and, now, he could be the first to renew a mandate since the conservative Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) in the ballot on April 24.
The electoral campaign is, however, atypical. Initially led by immigration policy and then by fears of loss of purchasing power, the war in Ukraine now monopolizes it.
This makes his rivals fear that the president will avoid discussing the substance. Macron “owes him a balance [sobre su mandato] to the French”, stressed the far-right Le Pen before the announcement.
The president of the Senate, the right-wing Gérard Larcher, has already warned of the risk of a “legitimacy crisis” of a possible new Macron term, without a debate on its balance and project.
“Of course, I will not be able to campaign as I would have liked due to the context,” wrote Macron in the letter, who nonetheless undertook to “explain” his project “clearly.”
The warnings are not trivial. Macron He was almost a novice in politics when he was chosen in 2017, months after serving as economy minister to his socialist predecessor François Hollande, and his reformist impetus collided with a series of social protests.
The crisis of the “yellow vests” in the middle of the term was the most important. This protest by the popular classes forced him to reverse a rise in fuel prices and, since then, he has been careful to limit the rise in energy.
During an interview in December, the liberal leader, who had to leave behind some of his postulates to get the country out of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus in 2020, acknowledged that a single mandate was not enough.
His commitment for the next five years is to achieve “independence” from France with massive investments in the industrial and energy sectors, especially nuclear, while promoting the ecological and digital transition.
However, the Court of Auditors has already warned the government that it will have to carry out structural reforms and cuts to clean up public accounts, especially when the executive forecasts a debt of 113% of GDP and a deficit of 5% at the end of the year.
Macron has already advanced that among his plans is to resume the controversial pension reform, which the coronavirus pandemic forced him to paralyze and which could again provoke massive demonstrations.
“There is no independence without economic strength. Therefore, we must work more and continue lowering the taxes that weigh on work and production”, he reiterated in his letter, in which he evokes the main lines of his project.
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