In France, the nail-biting election with Macron’s rival uprising

File – French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the EU Summit in Brussels on Friday, 22 October 2021. One of President Joe Biden’s difficult meetings at the G-20 summit may be with France, the leader of the United States’ oldest ally. . Biden and French President Macron will meet in Rome on October 29, 2021, as Paris continues to be embroiled in controversy over the US-British submarine deal with Australia. (Aris Oikonomou / Pool Photo AP, via file)

Boise, France (AP) – Yvette Robert, who has been out of the market outside Paris for 40 years, is watching firsthand how France weighs the price rise in the presidential election and turns Sunday’s first round of voting into a nail-biter. To the current President Emmanuel Macron.

Shopkeepers, who are more concerned with how to earn, say they always buy small quantities of Robert’s neatly stacked fruits and vegetables. And some of his customers do not come to the market for its baguettes, cheeses and other delicious offerings. Robert suspects that some people will not be able to take their vehicles to the store because of the high cost of fuel.

“People are scared – because of rising fuel prices, after all,” he said Friday as he concluded his campaign on Friday for the implementation of one of two two-part French election dramas set against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Macron, a political centrist, has been like a gamble for months to win a second term as France’s first president in 20 years. But in the final stages of the campaign that scene faded. The pain of inflation and the pump, food and energy prices hit low-income families hard and then roared back into hegemonic election themes. They could drive many voters Sunday into the hands of Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader who is Macron’s political opponent.

Macron, now 44, defeated Le Pen in 2017 by a landslide to become France’s youngest president. Unlike Le Pen, the victory of the former banker, an ardent supporter of European cooperation, was seen as a victory against the coming populist, nationalist politics. Following Donald Trump’s election to the White House in 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union.

To impress voters, Macron has economic successes: the French economy is recovering faster than expected from the impact of the Covid-19, with a 2021 growth rate of 7%, the highest since 1969. 2008 financial crisis. When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, which triggered Europe’s worst security crisis since World War II, Macron also got a ballot, and people rallied around the wartime leader.

But 53-year-old Le Pen is now a highly polished, strong and passionate political opponent as she makes her third attempt to become France’s first female president. And he campaigned particularly hard and for months on cost-of-living concerns, taking advantage of an issue that pollsters say is paramount in the minds of voters.

Le Pen pulls off two notable achievements. Despite his plans to drastically reduce immigration and regain some of the rights of Muslims in France, he seems to have convinced growing voters that he is no longer the dangerous, racist nationalist extremist that critics, including Macron, accuse him of.

She did it to some extent by diluting some of her rhetoric and aggression. She also had outside help: Le Pen got the knock-on advantage by appearing in almost the mainstream by comparing Le Pen, an extreme right-wing rowdy who was repeatedly accused of hate speech by a president led by Eric Zemmor.

Second, and even more astonishing: Le Pen has skillfully set aside any significant setbacks for his previous closeness with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He traveled to the Kremlin to meet him during his last presidential campaign in 2017. But in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, that potential embarrassment did not seem to turn Le Pen’s supporters against him. He said the invasion was “completely unsafe” and that Putin’s behavior was “unforgivable”.

In his market stall, Robert says he plans to vote for Macron because of the billions of euros (dollars) his government has spent on the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic to keep people, businesses and the French economy afloat. When the food markets closed, Robert received 1,500 euros ($ 1,600) a month to wander her.

“He never left anyone on the side of the road,” he says of Macron.

But this time, she thinks Le Pen also has a chance.

“She’s changed the way she speaks,” Robert said. “She learned to calm herself.”

Aside from the huge surprise, both Macron and Le Pen are expected to advance again from the first-round field with 12 candidates, who will win the second round of voting on April 24 to set up a rematch for all. Left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon is likely to take third place. Some overseas territories in France in the Pacific, Caribbean and South America vote on Saturday, and French territory on Sunday.

In early March, when Macron stopped his campaign in the town of Boise, west of Paris, in early March, voters put him in the double digit Le Pen. While Le Pen’s success may still seem unlikely, many of Macron’s benefits have since evaporated. Macron, who has been busy with the war in Ukraine, may have paid the price for his somewhat repressed campaign, which has alienated him from some voters.

Mary-Helen Hirrell, a 64-year-old retired tax collector, voted for Macron in 2017, but said she was too angry to do so again. Hirrell, who has been battling his retirement with rising prices, said he intends to shift his vote to Le Pen, who has promised fuel and energy tax cuts, which Macron says will wreak havoc.

Hirrell said that although Le Pen’s relationship with Putin “worries me”, voting for him would be a way of protesting against Macron and his failure to better protect the people from the grip of inflation.

“Now I am part of the‘ everyone against the Macron camp, ’” he said. “He’s fooling us all.”

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