Presidential elections | The gap is narrowing between Macron and Le Pen

(Paris) The candidates threw their last forces into battle on Thursday three days before an uncertain first round, the gap narrowing more and more between the two presidential favorites, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.

Updated yesterday at 5:45 p.m.

Christophe PARAYRE and the AFP Politics department
France Media Agency

For the 12 contenders for the Élysée, two major challenges are in order before the official end of the campaign on Friday at midnight: mobilizing their supporters when abstention could approach or exceed the 2002 record (28.4%) and go look for the many undecided, who represent a third of those sure to vote.

In an interview with readers of Parisian to be published on Friday, the president-candidate Emmanuel Macron attacked his far-right rival head-on, accusing her of “lying to people” with a social program that she will not be able to finance.

“Racist program”

According to him, Marine Le Pen has become “trivialized”, but “its fundamentals have not changed” with “a racist program, which aims to split society and of great brutality”.

Having entered the campaign late and after being very mobilized by the situation in Ukraine, the candidate Macron is still given as the favorite with around 26/27% of the voting intentions in the first round, and given victory in the second round by the polls, but day after day his lead is reduced against Marine Le Pen (23/24%).

“We see the dynamics of Marine Le Pen, we will have to put the turbo at 2and tower, “recognized to AFP an adviser to the Macron campaign. “Our objective is first of all to consolidate our lead, to avoid it being ahead in the first round”, added a member of the presidential majority.

For her part, the far-right candidate, who has worked hard to smooth her image even if her project remains as “radical” on the migratory and institutional level, held her last rally in the largest stronghold of the RN, in Perpignan. .

In full swing in the polls in recent days, around 23/24%, Mme Le Pen wants to mobilize a largely popular electorate, in the face of the threat of abstention, which could be particularly important in the lower classes.

“Take Back Control”

“I urge you to go and vote,” said the RN candidate in front of some 4,000 supporters according to the organizers, who chanted “Marine president”, or “we are at home”.

“In the presidential election, we do not abstain, take back control! “because” no result is acquired until you have voted”, insisted Marine Le Pen.

Determined to invite himself to the second round, the rebellious candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, up around 16%, is also working hard. LFI multiplies public meetings, at least one in each department.

A notch below, around 6%, the ecologist Yannick Jadot hopes that “the French will seize the election” after a “confiscated campaign”.

The “ecologist vote is always effective”, he hammered at a rally in Nantes, trying to dissuade left-wing voters from voting “useful” for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He called “for a surge of conscience, for general mobilization for the climate, for nature, for our children”.

LR candidate Valérie Pécresse and her far-right rival Eric Zemmour (Reconquest!), both around 8/9% after starting from much higher, are fighting a fierce battle for a recomposition in their camp.

Traveling in the Rhône, Mme Pécresse called on the French to choose “neither immobility nor extremism”. “The French want a right-wing program” but “Emmanuel Macron is not right-wing”, assured the candidate whose electorate is very courted by the president-candidate but also by the far right.

“Public powerlessness”

At the end of her Lyon rally, she went to the working-class district of La Guillotière to talk about the problems of insecurity with residents, who deplored the “growing impunity”.

“The French no longer support public powerlessness, it is what will lead them to the extremes of power”, she declared, presenting herself as “the alternation, the one which will bring order”.

During his last rally in Paris, Eric Zemmour for his part swept aside the main themes of his campaign, castigating the “scum”, denouncing the ecology of “Greta Thunberg”, “wind turbines” or “degrowth”, and criticized “neofeminism” as “sexual indifferentiation”.

Around or below the fateful 5% mark, which determines the reimbursement of campaign expenses, the communist Fabien Roussel, in a rally in Lille, anticipated “the beginning of a rebirth” for the left after the presidential election, adding that this election would not be “his last fight”.

Gathering in Toulouse, Philippe Poutou (NPA) also projects himself into the aftermath, calling for “rebuilding as broadly as possible” a divided and weakened left.

“We don’t let go”, launched to activists during a visit to Rouen Anne Hidalgo, who is also starting to work on the recomposition of the left.

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