French President, Emmanuel Macron, riding high in the polls ahead of elections next month (April 2022), is ready to reveal his programme for a second term on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in his first major campaign event.
The 44-year-old delayed declaring his intention to seek re-election to the last possible moment, but is now compelled to engage with electorates and rivals ahead of polls scheduled for April 10, 2022.
The centrist in recent weeks past, focused on Western diplomatic outreach to stop the happenings in Ukraine, giving him personal ratings boost at home (France) where most voters approved of his efforts.
If he becomes the first French president to be re-elected in 20 years next month, the former investment banker is expected to focus on deepening his pro-business domestic reforms and accelerating his vision for a more powerful European Union (EU).
Ahead of Mr. Macron’s major programme outdoor, a few specific details about his programme have been revealed.
A minister, who spoke to the media on condition of anonymity ahead of Thursday’s (March 17, 2022) event in Paris, disclosed that the programme will include a lengthy press conference. The minister pointed out that it is “an important exercise to show that he is addressing the questions and criticism of him, and that he’s therefore really entering the campaign”.
Rivals across the political spectrum, who struggled to make any impact in recent weeks amid the focus on Russia’s invasion, had called on Mr. Macron to declare his candidacy since the turn of the year.
Macron is scared to debate
Head of the Senate, Gerard Larcher, doubling as the opposition figure from the Republicans party, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, intimated that “The President wants to be re-elected without ever really having been a candidate, without a campaign, without a debate, without a competition between ideas”.
The opposition figure pointed out that“If there isn’t a campaign, then there will be questions about the legitimacy of the winner.” Also, Republican presidential candidate, Valerie Pecresse, claimed that “when you run away from debating, it’s probably because you’re scared”.
But Mr. Macron has brushed aside the criticism and also declined to take part in a televised head-to-head debate ahead of the first round, like his predecessors as president. Mr. Macron on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, said “Election campaigns when a president is running for re-election are always a bit unusual, that’s normal,” as he visited a centre for Ukrainian refugees outside Paris.
Polls favour Macron
The most recent voter surveys suggested that Macron has gained between 5.0 and 6.0 points over the last month and could be on course to win the first round of the election with a score of around 30 percent, which would be a higher margin of victory against elections in 2017.
A poll conducted by the Politico website suggested that veteran far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, is running in second place, with a score of around 18 percent. Ms. Pen is trailed by three candidates on around 11-12 percent: Pecresse, far-right former TV pundit, Eric Zemmour and hard-left campaigner, Jean-Luc Melenchon, who appears to be gaining momentum.
The top two candidates in the first round will progress to a run-off vote on April 24, 2022, with surveys currently suggesting that Macron will triumph by a large margin irrespective of his rival. Behind the scenes, the Frech leader is reported to be urging supporters to guard against premature optimism.
He remains a highly divisive figure, owing to his tax cuts for the wealthy, pro-business labour law reform and abrasive personality, which led to violent anti-government demonstrations in 2018 by a protester group called Yellow Vest.
Another recent survey by the Odexa polling group, published by Le Figaro on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, suggested one in four people might abstain in the first round, the second-highest rate since 1965.