Marine Le Pen calls on France to abandon the ‘catastrophic’ EU
A new Harris Interactive poll commissioned by CommStrat cabinet and the daily L’Opinion found that, depending on the various potential candidates on the right and the left of France’s political sphere, Emmanuel Macron could lose to Marine Le Pen by a short header in the first round.
The French President would gain 23 to 24 percent of the votes against the 26 to 27 percent that the eurosceptic Le Pen could secure, the poll found.
In 2017, Emmanuel Macron won 24 percent of the votes in the first round, against 21.3 percent for Marine Le Pen.
The French Presidential election next year is expected to see the pair at the centre of the debate again.
The National Rally leader lost to Macron in the second round of the election with 33.9 percent of the votes against 66.1 percent won by the President.
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Mr Macron has shifted his rhetoric to the right in recent weeks, attempting to pass new laws to drive home his emphasis on law and order.
However, the new policies on security, law and order have sparked heated debate in France – highlighting major divisions in the country.
Mr Macron will be looking to avoid a result similar to that of the European elections in 2019, where his rivals mopped up much of the rural and deindustrialised areas of northern, south-central and eastern France.
Christophe Guilluy, a leading political geographer, warned after the vote: “Macron’s electorate is besieged.
“They’re living in these new medieval strongholds. And it’s the periphery that is setting the agenda.”
Mr Guilluy wrote a book in which he set out the idea of a “peripheral France”, predicting the rise of the Yellow Vest protesters.
In a message to Mr Macron’s supporters, Mr Guilluy added: “They should be worried.
“The big cities, the metropolises, they are transforming themselves into citadels, surrounded by the working classes.
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“This is big, and we saw it in the Yellow Vest movement.”
The Yellow Vests is a populist movement campaigning for economic justice that began in France in October 2018.
They have become notorious for huge protests in Paris which are still occurring today.
The movement saw demonstrators hit out at fuel taxes initially, but this anger broadened to other issues.
The French President also faced backlash for his new laws, aiming to restrict protests, protect police and combat radicalism.
The legislation aimed to increase police protections, making it a criminal offence to publish images of on-duty officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity”.
In November, between 133,000 and 500,000 people demonstrated in more than 70 cities across France against a proposed security law.
Eventually, Macron succumbed to public pressure, and ditched the controversial bill.
The Harris Interactive poll also found that a candidacy by right-wing figures Xavier Bertrand and Valérie Pécresse would collect respectively 16 percent and 14 percent of the voting intentions.
Whilst left-wing Anne Hidalgo and Arnaud Montebourg would collect respectively 6 or 7 percent and 5 percent of the votes.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon would win 10 to 11 percent of the votes.
The poll was conducted online on January 19 and 20 with a representative sample of 1,403 people, including 976 registered on the electoral roll, using the quota method.
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