socialist french minister may back macron as left talks founder
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

Socialist French minister may back Macron as left talks founder

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Arab Today, arab today Socialist French minister may back Macron as left talks founder

Artists dressed up with costumes depicting French presidential election candidate for the right-
Paris - Arab today

A senior Socialist minister said on Tuesday he might back centrist Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential election, a blow to his party’s official candidate and a potential boost for Macron, who is battling to stay favourite in opinion polls.

A daily survey by Opinionway pollsters showed the tight, multi-faceted race was still wide open with less than nine weeks to go.

Macron was neck-and-neck with conservative rival Francois Fillon as favourite for the presidency, but far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen was holding on to recent gains that have rattled investors.

Socialist Benoit Hamon, elected as candidate in a Party primary in January, remained in a distant fourth place, still struggling to make an impact on the two-stage election set for April 23 and May 7, but with a distant possibility that a deal with a rival could yet give him a chance.

Hamon is pushing a hard-left programme that divides his party and competes for votes with another leftist, Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Melenchon is in fifth place, but a combined Hamon-Melenchon vote would theoretically put them into first or second and therefore into a second round instead of Fillon or Macron and against Le Pen.

But in a blow to Hamon, Socialist agriculture minister and government spokesman Stephane Le Foll on Tuesday became the second minister to suggest he might defect to Macron.

“I support the man who has been chosen (by the Socialists), but the moment comes for political responsibility with regard to what is at play, with regard to Marine Le Pen and with regard also to the programme of Francois Fillon,” Le Foll said on BFM TV.

Asked whether this meant his backing would depend on who was best placed to prevent a Le Pen versus Fillon runoff, he said: “Exactly!” Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, No 2 in the cabinet rankings, has also said he might back Macron.

Political analysts are also eying an imminent decision from veteran centrist Francois Bayrou on whether to stand or not.

If he stands, that could hurt Macron, but backing from Bayrou could be a further boost for the 39 year-old’s battle with Fillon, whose campaign is trying to recover from a fake work scandal surrounding his wife.

Opinionway’s polls on Tuesday put Le Pen on 26 per cent in the first round with Macron and Fillon both on 21, Hamon on 15 and Melenchon on 11, little changed from recent days.

But it is in the second round where the Le Pen vote has been advancing. Opinionway showed her losing there with 42 per cent of the vote, holding onto the gains she has made, particularly in a Macron contest, in recent days.

The anti-immigration, anti-European Union Le Pen meanwhile caused controversy on a trip to Lebanon where her plans to meet a senior Muslim figure were cancelled after her refusal to wear a headscarf.

Macron was due to be campaigning in London, home to a large expatriate French Community, on Tuesday.

The left still looked split despite news last week that Melenchon and Hamon were in discussions.

The talks between Melenchon, a veteran campaigner, and Hamon, an ex-education minister, were tentative from the start and both have acknowledged wide policy differences.

Hamon on Tuesday gave the latest indication they were unlikely to be joining forces.

“There is a desire on Melenchon’s part to go on right to the end,” Hamon said on Europe 1 radio. “I respect that ... In any case, I will work on right to the end.” News of the talks raised investor worries about a hard-left, hard-right choice in the second round last week. These have since subsided, but Le Pen’s showing the polls has kept investors nervous.

The premium investors demand to hold French bonds instead of German debt fell slightly on Tuesday from Monday’s near four-year high. The spread was last at 78 basis points, after widening out to as much as 85 bps on Monday,.

Looking to put a brave face on his prospects on Tuesday, Hamon hailed a likely electoral pact with the tiny green party under which candidate Yannick Jadot could withdraw his candidacy and join forces with Hamon in the election.

“I am confident and optimistic that we can reach an agreement by the end of this week,” Hamon said on radio Europe 1. Jadot is expected to gather only about 2 per cent of the vote in the first round

source : gulfnews

 

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socialist french minister may back macron as left talks founder socialist french minister may back macron as left talks founder

 



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