France: is Le Pen pushing Macron around?
According to the latest surveys on the 2022 presidential elections, Emmanuel Macron's lead against Marine Le Pen has shrunk considerably. An interview with the president published in the right-wing conservative weekly Valeurs actuelles on immigration, communitarianism and the headscarf now suggests than Macron is trying to pander to right-wing voters. A dangerous strategy, the papers write.
Th president is playing with fire
Macron is shifting the focus to topics that are traditionally Le Pen's territory, Le Monde worries:
“In this context the biggest electoral challenge is no longer to secure a majority for one's ideas, but to block the adversary's advance by playing on the fringes, among the section of the electorate that is most receptive to his - or her - ideas. However, this game is not without its risks, because instead of countering these ideas it could make them more popular. From an ideological point of view, Marine le Pen has nothing to complain about right now: in the media she's less present, but the ideas she's been advancing for years, the close amalgam of social issues and the identitarian crisis, have saturated public debate without the president being able to find a solution.”
Fixation on these rivals endangers democracy
Reducing the upcoming presidential election to a duel between the two finalists of 2017 will only harm France's political culture, historian Maxime Tandonnet warns in Le Figaro:
“The victim of this scenario has a name: democracy. The message being sent to France two and a half years before the next elections is: everything is already done and dusted. Whatever happens, even if it's not what you want, the outcome in 2022 will be an exact replica of what happened in 2017. In our system - deeply anti-republican in this respect - where the presidential elections shape the outcome of the legislative ones - which are thus no more than an addendum to the former and in which the narcissistic personalisation of power quashes debate and the common good - any uncertainty is eliminated and France's electoral fate is clearly laid out in advance.”