Will Macron manage to get re-elected?

It could be a close race: Emmanuel Macron's lead against Marine Le Pen is narrowing. According to a poll from Sunday (Ifop), the incumbent president is at 27 percent while the Rassemblement National candidate is at 22 percent, leading to speculation in the European press about a potential victory for Le Pen in the second round of voting.

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La Stampa (IT) /

Voters could deny Macron their support

Voters on both the left and right could refuse to vote for Macron, La Stampa points out:

“While in 2017 no one would have bet a euro on the victory of the heir to the charismatic Jean-Marie, the historic leader of the far right, French society seems less in agreement today. If the 'system' agrees with Macron and his idea of a 'start-up nation', what will the people say? After five years Macron remains elusive - 'slippery', as Le Monde has written - and now faces a political paradox: will right-wing and left-wing voters unite to defeat the president who has said he is neither right nor left?”

Libération (FR) /

The incumbent's strange strategy

The late announcement of his candidacy, his refusal to hold a TV debate with his challengers and only one major campaign appearance - it looks like Macron is doing his best not to campaign, Libération writes, perplexed:

“Macron has not done much to get people talking over their coffee at breakfast. At his only campaign appearance on Saturday in the La Défense district of Paris, he devoted much of his time to defending his policies, forgetting the adage that you don't win an election with a balance sheet. His strategy of avoiding the campaign, reinforced by the war in Ukraine, is now turning against him. This strategy is all the more surprising because he knows that democracy does not tolerate evasion. And because he himself is no rookie debater.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Covid policy has aroused appetites

Macron's budgetary policy may have improved the chances of his opponents on the left and right of the political spectrum, Le Temps fears:

“On the one hand common sense dictates that the majority of voters should vote for promising candidates with economic competences (Macron or Pécresse, for example). Especially since the proposals of Le Pen, Zemmour and Mélenchon would lead to a serious confrontation at the European level. ... However, the situation is different in 2022. The 'whatever it takes' of the pandemic has left its mark. State money flowed in torrents. Macron chose to sign XXL cheques to cushion the economic crisis. How can we find our way back to reason and the indispensable balanced budgets?”

Financial Times (GB) /

The best man since Mitterand

On the whole, the incumbent president can look back on a number of successes, the Financial Times comments:

“He has not achieved all he promised, but on the economic and EU fronts he has been the most influential president since François Mitterrand's tenure from 1981 to 1995. His achievements include tax cuts for companies and households, lowering France's chronically high jobless rate and handling the pandemic skilfully, such that the economy recovered faster than elsewhere in Europe. He played a key part in the EU's landmark decision to launch a post-Covid recovery fund involving common debt issuance and investment.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

This time she has a real chance of winning

The incumbent can hardly count on the support of left-wing voters in this election, The Daily Telegraph observes:

“Macron has at times during his presidency acted in such a heavy-handed and authoritarian way that great swathes of the public won't fall for his alarmist rhetoric about the advance of the 'far right'. ... Macron is loathed by millions on the left and they will not heed his call to lend him their vote to keep out Le Pen. Just as Britain's Red Wall collapsed in 2019, in 2022 it could be the turn of France's Republican Front to disintegrate and when the dust settles France could have its first female president.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

President entering the home stretch weakened

Le Pen's current strength can be explained in part by the lack of enthusiasm for Macron as a person and his weak election campaign, La Libre Belgique sums up:

“Marine Le Pen's unprecedented rebound testifies to a certain resilience. ... And there are other alarming signals. These include the rejection - and even visceral hatred - that Emmanuel Macron's personality arouses in some people. His mixed track record brings back memories of a presidency marked by crises (the 'yellow vests', Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine). His strategy of virtually skipping the first round of campaigning doesn't help, nor does the controversy over his excessive use of McKinsey consultants. One can hardly speak of a good campaign. Marine Le Pen, meanwhile, is bringing her programme home to voters.”

La Tribune (FR) /

Le Pen copying Macron's strategy

Le Pen's is performing so well in the polls because she has managed to cast herself as a viable option for president, La Tribune explains:

“Zemmour's radicalism has moved Le Pen towards the centre and presented her as a victim. The right-wing primary did the rest by making the discourse on zero immigration - hitherto the preserve of the Rassemblement National - seem normal. In an unexpected sleight of hand, Marine Le Pen has succeeded in 'simultaneously' winning over a broader electorate with a hybrid economic programme, a little to the left and a little to the right [like Macron's]. ... As if she wanted to make people forget that the RN's programme remains essentially far-right.”