French election campaign: Pécresse disappoints
At her first major campaign event in Paris on Sunday, the presidential candidate of Les Républicains, Valérie Pécresse, adopted classic far-right themes, warning of infiltration by Islamists, security problems and a betrayal of French culture. This draws criticism from the national press.
Fatal shift to the right
Instead of seeking a balance between the moderate and more extreme wings of her party Valérie Pécresse is allowing herself to be nudged into the far right camp, Le Monde criticises in its leading article:
“In doing so, she is committing a double mistake: personal and tactical, because under the pretext of keeping her competitors in check, she is placing Les Républicains in a three-way race [against Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour] that is pulling the party towards the most radical right. Her decision is all the more astonishing because the Chirac supporter left the party in 2019 to distance herself from the 'hard' line embodied by Laurent Wauquiez. Two years later, she is back and forced to get along with this current that is gaining force behind Éric Ciotti.”
Slate is troubled by the fact that Pécresse has used two terms from far-right vocabulary in her campaign speech:
“Valérie Pécresse's use of the phrases 'great replacement' and 'French in name only' [from immigrant backgrounds] says a lot about the creeping poison that threatens to suffocate the French nation. To include these phrases in a speech of nationwide scope immediately lends them a respectability, an authority, a status that they have hitherto lacked. It was only through the tireless repetition that Jews represented a mortal danger to the German nation that this absurd hypothesis acquired the appearance of a fact. Perhaps it would be good to remember this.”