Macron woos leftist voters as French campaign nears end

French President Emmanuel Macron visited a multicultural and working-class suburb north Paris on Thursday, to win leftist voters before Sunday's presidential election against Marine Le Pen.

Macron woos leftist voters as French campaign nears end

The vote's international influence was evident in the support Macron received Thursday from the centre-left leaders of Germany and Spain, who encouraged French voters to vote for him over Le Pen. The appeals were made just a day after Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, spoke out about the French vote. He claimed that Le Pen was too closely connected to Russian authorities to be France's next president in the midst of Russia's war with Ukraine.

Macron, who was the leader of the April 10th round that eliminated 10 candidates, stated that he did not take anything for granted and was looking for more support.

Macron declared Thursday that "Nothing is final except the last minute", as recent polls have shown a stable lead for Macron against his rival.

He stated that he decided to make his last campaign stop in a region that was "facing many difficulties" in the poorest part of France, the Seine-Saint-Denis. This is where many people are immigrants or have immigrant roots.

After the bitter clashes between the rivals on Wednesday, Macron said that Le Pen's proposal to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves publically in France would cause "civil war". The country has the largest Muslim population of Western Europe.

Macron spoke Thursday before an audience of ethnically diverse people in Saint-Denis, "We mustn't get used to the rising of far-right ideologies."

Le Pen was speaking to voters in northern France before her last rally in Arras on Thursday evening.

"I believe I have every chance to win. She said that the French would mobilize to end (Macron’s) first devastating term."

In Saint-Denis where a majority of voters had voted for Jean-Luc Melenchon (far-left), Macron was not able to win. He came third in the first round and didn't make it to the second. The 44-year old leader was told by a woman that she had to choose between "plague or cholera" in the presidential runoff.

Macron replied that he was open to changing his platform in order to satisfy the needs of French voters.

Pierre Flament, a 75-year-old leftist voter said that he would vote for Macron on Sunday "with no pleasure."

Macron was called "the president of rich" by him. He said that he originally planned to vote blank. He changed his mind after the "enormous chance" that Le Pen might win. The gap between Macron and Macron has been significantly reduced by polls compared to the previous encounter five years ago.

"If I vote Macron I hope that we will be able to start protesting the next day. Because Macron's policies are bad, we will have to march on the streets. He said that if Marine Le Pen wins we may not be allowed to protest at all."

Along with 14 leftist mayors, the Socialist mayor of Saint-Denis and the head the Seine-Saint-Denis area, Macron was urged to support Macron during the runoff.

"With Marine Le Pen president of the Republic Seine-Saint-Denis residents are the first victims discrimination," they wrote. They called her platform "racist” and "a negation democracy."

Le Pen has tried to appeal to voters who are struggling to cope with rising prices due to Russia's war in Ukraine. If elected, she says that her priority would be to lower the cost of living.

She has been scrutinized over a 9,000,000 euro ($9.7million) loan her party received in 2014. Her 2017 visit to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has also come under scrutiny.

A column published in European newspapers on Thursday by Olaf Scholz (German Chancellor), Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister and Antonio Costa, wrote that Sunday's vote was "critical for France" and for all of Europe.

"It's an election between a democratic presidential candidate who believes France's strength will broaden in a powerful, autonomous European Union and an extremist-right candidate who openly side with those who attack freedom and democracy, values based upon the French ideas of Enlightenment," said the joint comment without mentioning Macron and Le Pen.

Costa, Social Democrat Scholz, and Socialists Sanchez and Costa said that Europe is facing "a change in era" because of Russia's invasion. They also noted that the "populists" and "extremists" view Putin "as an ideology and political model, reiterating his chauvinist ideas."

They said that they had echoed his attacks against minorities and diversity as well as his goal of nationalist uniformity. "We cannot forget that, regardless of how many politicians try to distance themselves from Russia's aggressor."


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