France: liberals and right in election mode

The French elections in April 2022 are drawing closer. On Monday the first TV debate among the conservative primary candidates took place, Macron's televised address on Tuesday already was already focused on his election platform, and on the extreme right Eric Zemmour - not yet an official candidate - is slowly outpacing Marine Le Pen. Europe's press discusses the extent to which they are all fighting for the same votes.

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Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (PL) /

Zemmour has reshuffled the cards

Eric Zemmour's media presence is a double-edged sword for President Macron, writes Dziennik Gazeta Prawna:

“Zemmour's emergence as a potential candidate in the elections has given Macron a much-needed reprieve, because he has weakened Le Pen and the president can now focus on what he does best, namely international politics and big speeches. Marine Le Pen has never been the darling of the media. For years it was considered indelicate to invite her to an interview. The right-wing columnist Zemmour, on the other hand, who is considered a fascist by left-wing politicians and media, had his own programme on the popular news channel CNews and columns in Le Figaro for years. Now he barely leaves the TV studios.”

Libération (FR) /

Dishonest jobless bashing

In his latest TV address Macron announced among other things that he might cut benefits for less active jobseekers. An unfair election campaign tactic, Libération rails:

“To deny that [unmotivated unemployed] exist would be absurd. But to suggest that they are in the majority and that fraud is at the heart of the dysfunctions of the labour market is an economic sham. The president's tactic could not be clearer: to go hunting in the grounds of a right wing whose primary candidates are adopting the identity and security themes of the far right. The left is offended to see the unemployed stigmatised once again. That's the minimum reaction. We would also like to see it reappropriate and reinvent the 'value of work' that has been at the heart of its identity for so long.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Radicalisation is a dead end

Le Soir has a piece of advice for the moderate right:

“The radical temptation would quite simply be suicidal for the conservatives. Should it stray towards the extreme camp in the hope of clinging to the sinister Zemmour, it would not only lose its soul in the process, but also hasten its own downfall. For, as we know, voters always prefer the original to the copy. In 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy managed to conquer the Elysée by using harsher discourse to wrest votes from the Front National. But today, the opposite could happen because the far right is clearly on its way to usurping what is left of the centre right.”