Marseille, France – On a dais on a lush lawn overlooking the sun-soaked Mediterranean port of Marseille, President Emmanuel Macron announced to a crowd of supporters on Saturday, “The politics I will do in the next five years, It will be environmental, or it will not!”
It was an ambitious promise for a president whose green policies has been criticized frequently climate protest, the courts condemned Marked for “inaction” and by failure to meet goals. But above all, Mr Macron’s oath was a direct appeal to his left-wing voters, who hold the key to an eventual victory in the second round of the presidential election – and for whom the climate has become a major issue.
Mr. Macron devoted nearly three-quarters of his one-and-a-half hour speech to environmental issues. He promised to sharply cut dependence on oil and gas by appointing ministers responsible for long-term environmental planning, planting 140 million trees by 2030, and developing nuclear and renewable energy.
“Inaction – not for me!” He told an enthusiastic crowd of about 4,000 who had gathered in the Parc du Faro, on the heights of Marseille, for Mr Macron’s last rally, possibly before the April 24 vote.
The incident embodies Mr Macron’s strategy for the runoff between the centrist ruling and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen: wooing the left with progressive policies and campaigning in working-class cities where he is running as a separate president. Trying to tarnish your image. Different from everyday realities. If large numbers of left-wing voters stay home for the second round of voting, or move into Ms. Le Pen’s camp, it could spell serious trouble for Mr. Macron.
Stewart Chou, an analyst at polling firm Voyvois, said Mr Macron’s main goal was to “find Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s voters”. leftist candidate who came third overall in the first round Voting – but first in Marseille, with 31 percent of the vote.
In September, the president unveiled a multi-billion-euro plan to tackle crime and poverty in Marseille.
Promising a “complete renewal” if he is re-elected, Mr Macron also used his speech to attack Ms Le Pen, accusing her of undermining press freedom, challenging gender equality. and accused France of leaving the European Union. He’s Trying To “Resurrect”dam“That the mainstream electorate has long been formed by voting for someone at Le Pen – either their current rival or their father, Jean-Marie, the leader of the French from the far 1970s.
Saturday’s rally ended an intense week of campaigning for Mr. Macron, country tour from monday to make for one weak initial campaign, By only visiting places where Ms Le Pen or Mélenchon came out on top in the first round, he risks engaging with angry residents, in an effort to show that he too can feel their pain.
In contrast, Ms. Le Pen, who have long attempted to soften their public image, limiting her expedition trips this week, has been more risk-averse. Instead, it has tried to bolster its credibility with two news conferences on its institutional overhaul proposals and its foreign policy agenda.
But those events partly backfired after his party’s refusal to recognize some media outlets, and as they did detailed controversial plans To build ties with Russia and leave the unified military command of NATO.
Ms Le Pen has been more exposed to scrutiny since another far-right candidate, Eric Zemor, failed to make the runoff. her Incendiary comments opposing immigration and Islam Much attention has been drawn from Ms. Le Pen, who has long been known for a similar stance.
“Form confronts matter,” said analyst Mr. Chou, adding that Ms. Le Pen’s clean image now “collapsed with the reality of her thoughts, which were anything but appeasement, anything but bland.”
At a rally on Thursday in the southern city of Avignon, Ms Le Pen mentioned immigration only three times, despite being a cornerstone of her platform. For one he has offered to deport foreigners after being unemployed year, prioritizing native French for social housing and benefits, and ending the right to citizenship through birth in France.
His supporters were furious. “She still wants to drive out the immigrants,” said Aline Vincent, a French flag in her right hand, who attended Ms Le Pen’s rally along with some 4,000 others. “But she doesn’t say it that way.”
In Marseille, Daniel Beddou said he was “very concerned” about the rise of the far right. He held a European flag in his left hand and said, Mr. Macron was pleased with his environmental plans. He said he adopted the president’s “at the same time” approach, referring to his habit of borrowing policies from both the left and the right.
As he appealed to the 7.7 million voters who supported Mr Mélancheon in the first round and held the key to an eventual victory, Mr Macron downplayed some of his proposals, such as a plan to raise the legal retirement age to 65. From 62, which they now say can be softened.
On Saturday, he also pushed for long-term “environmental planning” – a concept that was a cornerstone of Mr Mélancheon’s platform – while promising to appoint a minister “directly responsible” for this, aiding the two ministers in charge of energy and the environment. infection from
“There is a genuine desire to speak to working-class voters, a left-wing voter that we lacked in the first round,” said Sacha Hooli, an MP and spokesperson for Mr Macron’s campaign.
What to know about the French presidential election
It remains to be seen to what extent Mr. Macron’s leaning to the left in the last minute will yield results in the ballot box.
Many voters disillusioned Mr. Macron’s behavior on the right in recent years, French historian and philosopher François Dosse, who was one of Mr Macron’s most ardent supporters in the last election, said his tough on immigration and against Islamic extremism “Recycling the Fear of the Far Right” and indirectly crediting Ms. Le Pen’s discourse.
“It’s about playing Russian roulette,” Mr Dosse said of Mr Macron’s strategy to triangulate France’s electoral landscape. “And it is a dangerous game in which anyone can lose – and democracy can be lost.”
Mr Macron won only 28 per cent of the vote last week, with 23 per cent for Ms Le Pen and 22 per cent for Mélenchon, while many others lagged behind. Already, some voters, disappointed with the current record, are contemplating sitting out of the second round.
“In 2017, he was a fresh face, he was young, he was ambitious – but in the end, he did nothing,” said Nadia Maybrek, 48, a Melenchon supporter she would likely abstain. She stood on the rue d’Aubigne, where Two buildings collapsed in 2018, eight people died – a testament to Marseille’s endemic housing and poverty crisis,
“Macron, he protects the rich more than the poor,” said Ms Maybrek, who as a personal care assistant has always been paid only minimum wage.
Election Show that only a third of Mélenchon’s supporters would support Mr Macron to keep Ms Le Pen out of power, while the rest would vote for Le Pen and split between abstinence.
But the first week of the runoff campaign has been in Mr Macron’s favour. voter survey Show that his lead has widened in the second round. The French president would receive 56 per cent of the vote, while Ms Le Pen received 44 per cent of the vote – her biggest gain since the end of March.
In Marseille, many Mélancheon supporters, such as 26-year-old Nate Gasser, said they would support Mr Macron to defeat Miss Le Pen. “It bothers me to do so, but we will vote for Macron,” he insisted, adding that it was not a “vote of compliance”.
“And after that,” he said, “we will take to the streets to protest.”