(Paris) Outgoing President Emmanuel Macron, under increasing pressure from Marine Le Pen in the polls for the 2and presidential round, attacked her far-right rival on Friday, two days before the first round in France, marked by many uncertainties.
Updated yesterday at 3:36 p.m.
Marine Le Pen offers a “false”, “racist” program accused the candidate president, who saw his lead in the polls melt away, both for the 1is and the 2and turn on April 24.
“She has a totally demagogic program”, underlined Mr. Macron, questioned Friday evening on the online media Brut, in response to Mr. Macron’s project.me Le Pen to ban the wearing of the veil in public spaces.
“Febrility,” said the leader of the far right.
“I challenge him to find a proposal in my program that discriminates against the French because of their origin, their religion or the color of their skin because that is racism”.
According to the polls, the two finalists of the 2017 election are best placed to qualify on Sunday, even if the leader of the radical left Jean-Luc Mélenchon is also surfing, like Mme Le Pen, on a positive dynamic.
In the event of a repeat of this duel, five polls on Friday gave a very narrow victory in the second round to the outgoing president on April 24, with scores of 51 to 54%.
The ten other contenders seem to have been relegated, but uncertainty remains, particularly because, warns political scientist Pascal Perrineau, “this is the first election that has reached such a rate of people who are undecided, who have changed their opinion, roughly one out of two French people.
“It is vaguely taking shape, but frankly I think that in the voting booth, it will be at the last moment”, explained Friday in a Parisian market Jeanne Di Mascio, a 38-year-old music teacher.
Anesthetized by the conflict in Ukraine, the campaign, which had started without relief, has regained interest in the last few days as the hypothesis of a victory for Marine Le Pen has taken shape, which would be both the first woman and the first far-right representative to become president.
“Everyone is laughing”
The daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, a figure of the French far right for decades, has managed to smooth the once abrasive image of her party, while leading a convincing campaign on purchasing power, the number one priority of the population at a time when inflation is rising, boosted by the war in Ukraine.
Some candidates have already announced the position they will adopt on Sunday evening: the communist Fabien Roussel and the ecologist Yannick Jadot will block Mme Le Pen and Valérie Pécresse (traditional right), will not give instructions, but will say for whom she will vote in the second round.
Despite everything, abstention, which tends to increase regularly in France, should remain very high.
Many political scientists fear that the record of April 21, 2002 (28.4%), the highest level ever recorded for a first round of a presidential election, could be beaten, much more than in 2017 (22.2% ) which was already not a good vintage.
“Around me, no one votes and everyone is grumbling,” lamented Christine Mazaud, a 75-year-old retiree, in a Parisian market.
From midnight, Paris time (22:00 GMT), silence will fall over the countryside. Public meetings, distribution of leaflets and digital propaganda of the candidates will be prohibited. No interviews, polls or estimated results may be released before the results on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. GMT).
Some suitors could however appear publicly on Saturday during demonstrations. “Marches for the future” are announced everywhere in France on the initiative of left-wing organizations.
In the meantime, the candidates devoted themselves to media interventions or small trips to try to convince the 48.7 million French people called to the polls.
Before his intervention on Brut, Emmanuel Macron thus made a short impromptu visit to a market in Neuilly-sur-Seine, at the gates of Paris, on Friday morning.
For 45 minutes, the president-candidate spoke with merchants, customers and municipal employees.
Marine Le Pen was in Narbonne in the South of France, also on a market, where she presented herself as the candidate of “quiet France”.
A glass of rosé in hand, she said she did not feel “the dizziness” of a possible victory, and added: “the artichoke is eaten leaf by leaf, first the first round, after the second”.