Predictions that Macron may be four to six percentage points lower than Le Pen on April 24 have worried presidential supporters and countries across Europe. Le Pen, who was on a campaign trip to another part of France on Monday afternoon, designed the referendum to be “the choice of civilization.”
Macron campaigned minimally before the first round, but on Monday he appeared to be ready for a serious two weeks, including attacking the Le Pen area to attract voters who had selected other candidates or sat in the first round.
The president’s first trip took him to Denine, one of France’s poorest areas in the north. There, 42 percent of voters supported Le Pen on Sunday, and only 15 percent voted for Macron. More than a third did not vote.
Macron, who was sometimes criticized for being sidelined, showed the most accessible side, moving slowly through the crowd, stopping for a selfie. He spoke for more than an hour to voters who had previously gathered at the local mayor’s office, answering questions about inflation, rising costs of living and adequate pensions – some of the campaign’s limited issues, which have been exacerbated by the impact. War in Ukraine.
Christian Delbeck, 59, said he had chosen the first-round candidate by chance – Monday morning, he did not even know who he was voting for. But Macron’s visit to Denin seemed to win her over.
“I understood what he was talking about,” she said. “Le Pen has said many things that I do not accept, including Muslims.”
It will be hard to convince other voters. Some of those who had gathered to see the president outside Denin Meyer’s office sang anti-Macron songs, and at times the mood became tense.
“I am here to talk about all my commitments and to explain my reforms. But I’m here to tell you face to face that you are lying, ”Macron told a voter who hit his record. “It’s wrong that I did anything for Denon.”
A few hundred meters from where Macron was shaking hands, 54-year-old Pascal Henry walked around his day in front of the post office – saying he planned to vote for Le Pen in two more weeks. “People here need help,” he said. “Macron says a lot, but he doesn’t do a lot.”
Le Pen echoed that criticism during a campaign trip to the far-right stronghold of Soucy in central France on Monday. “Now that [Macron] Going to Tennon to see the consequences of his five-year tenure … I hope he realizes that his policies have done the greatest harm and that the purchasing power of millions of Frenchmen is paramount.
Macron did not hesitate to attack Le Pen when he campaigned within his constituency in the city of Corwin on Monday evening and approached his home floor on Monday evening.
In his victory speech on Sunday, Macron said he would like to convince those who did or did not vote for radical candidates that “our program provides a very definitive answer to the fears of the far right.” His strategy is aimed at reviving the “Republican Front” – a coalition of voters across the political spectrum opposed to the far right.
Macron has spent most of the past five years expressing his vision of how France and Europe can broadly address the social and economic concerns that motivate voters to support nationalist figures. However, political analysts say Macron was partly responsible for the break-up of the anti-nationalist coalition when it crushed the established center-right and center-left parties in France in 2017.
Many of the candidates he defeated in the first round on Sunday immediately called on their supporters to vote for Macron and prevent Le Pen’s victory.
Left-wing candidates Fabien Roussel, Anne Hidalgo, Yannick Jadot and – most critically – Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in third on Sunday, second only to Le Pen.
“You should not even give a vote to Madame Le Pen,” M மெlenchon said Sunday, repeating the sentence several times.
Macron also had the support of center-right candidate Valérie Pécresse, whose voters especially wanted to consider supporting Le Pen.
Although McCann appears to have more voters than Le Pen, it is unclear how many will turn to him on April 24.
He faces a particularly steep upsurge with M மெlenchon voters, including those frustrated by the president’s shift to the right in his post on left-wing national security and climate policies. And polls suggest that a third of Mலlenchon’s supporters may vote for Le Pen in the second round.
“Left-wing voters really have the key to this election in their hands – they are the Kingmakers,” said Vincent Martigni, a political scientist at the University of Nice.
Macron faces the risk of further alienating voters on the left by traveling to areas that are fortified by the right. But the topics that dominated his trip on Monday – the impact of industrialization and high poverty – were centered on both Le Pen and M மெlenchon.
On Sunday, Mélenchon received 19 percent of the vote in the Hauts-de-France, where Denine is located.
Although Macron’s handling of the epidemic is largely recognized in France, his introduction of the vaccine pass has been criticized by far-right and far-left. Macron appeared to play into the hands of his critics when he told a French newspaper in January that he wanted to “shred” anyone who had not yet been vaccinated.
Responding to a voter accusing Macron of being “deputy citizens” who were not vaccinated, Macron defended those earlier comments Monday, saying “I said it with love.”