Without saying so, France’s Macron launching re-election bid

LE PECQ (France) -- "I'm running again as a candidate for the French presidency."

Without saying so, France’s Macron launching re-election bid

LE PECQ (France) -- "I'm running again as a candidate for the French presidency."

Those words or a variation of them were the most glaring omission in Emmanuel Macron's Tuesday night prime-time address to nation.

The speech lasted 27 minutes and was delivered in front of the red-white and blue tricolor flags and the embossed seals of the French Republic. It covered France's fight against coronavirus pandemic and outlined its economic recovery. It also spoke up for France's strengths, but also warned of its vulnerabilities.

It was a televised declaration which sounded almost like a campaign launch for re-election -- but it wasn't.

This is certainly how it was seen in the eyes of political opponents, who have already declared their desire to overthrow Macron and limit him as a one-term President when the country votes on April.

Jean-Luc Melenchon of the far-left tweeted, "Clearly, Emmanuel Macron has a candidate." He is trying to improve on his fourth-place finish in 2017's election which saw Macron elected as France's youngest-ever President.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen was beaten in 2017 by Macron. called the speech "a campaign speech."

For the moment, Macron is strategically advantageous not to declare himself for re-election.

Macron can seem to be above electoral politics from the luxurious offices at the presidential Elysee Palace. This is despite what is already a fraught and bruising campaign. It's more difficult for opponents to attack a sitting president who hasn’t yet taken the plunge and entered the fray. Macron's enemies may feel uncouth or unpatriotic when they attack the French president, who is a symbol of French authority.

Macron can also use his privileges as a president to run for office without having to say so because of his ambiguity. Macron meets voters in France, greets them and commands airtime. He also travels here and there for what is ostensibly presidential business. His future campaign team hopes that his access to France's purse strings will allow him to redirect taxpayers' funds to causes and needs that will make him more appealing as a candidate.

A Macron re-election campaign is underway behind the scenes. The formula that worked for Macron in 2017 is still in place. He continues to work to control the middle ground in French politics and attract voters from both the right and the left.

His campaign team will make it a priority to divert support from far-right and conservative candidates, who poll more strongly than those on the left. Macron doesn't have to declare: Polling of voter intentions suggests that Macron is the front-runner with a substantial, but not insurmountable, cushion.

Gabriel Attal, Macron's spokesperson, stated Wednesday that "When you launch a campaign, necessarily it encroaches upon the work." "We must be 100% at work."

Macron is not the only one who deliberately keeps people guessing. Eric Zemmour, an unnamed but highly anticipated contender, has had the greatest impact on the race. , the rabble-rousing TV pundit , is a candidate in all but his name. Despite repeated hate speech convictions, is polling close to Macron and Le Pen. A Zemmour official candidacy could be within days.

If Macron plays a long waiting game, there's a risk that Macron and his campaign and its issues will run away from him. Already, Zemmour's and Le Pen’s focus on immigration, and the dangers it poses to French identity, prosperity, is distracting from themes economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction, which Macron considers his strengths.

Oponents also complain that Macron blurs the lines between candidate and president, giving him an unfair advantage. The January election rules, which require equal airtime for candidates, will apply to Macron as well.

Supporters and get-out-the vote drives will need to be organized, rallies organized, and funds raised and registered. Francois Hollande, the former president of France, was preparing to announce his intentions at the exact same time as the last presidential election. On December 1, 2016, declared in a prime-time address, that he would not be seeking a second 5-year term.

Macron's speech did not suggest a similar path. Macron stated that he believes there are still works to be done following a term that was thrown off track by the pandemic, and months of protests against his government.

Macron's talk of reforming France's pension system was the most obvious sign of his intentions. Macron had previously promised that he would push through the difficult reform as president. He said Tuesday, however, that he must wait for 2022 to make "clear decisions".

Year of the election.

He could not have been more clear without actually stating so.

Updated Date: 10 November 2021, 12:19

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