Wednesday, April 17

Le Pen encourages “peripheral France”, while Macron turns to the “banlieue”

  • The far-right candidate holds her last rally in the deindustrialized region of the north of the country

  • The president travels to the outskirts of Paris to seduce Mélenchon voters

The French President, Emmanuel Macronand the extreme right Marine LePen they dedicated the penultimate day of the presidential campaign in seeking votes in propitious territories to mark the differences in their favor. The centrist candidate moved to Saint-Denis. In this emblematic town of the “banlieue”, in the north of Paris, it obtained barely 16% of the votes in the first round (compared to 27% in the country as a whole). But in the second round she could benefit from the fear that generates the extreme right. Instead, the leader of the National Regrouping (RN, far right) held his last rally in Arras, a medium-sized town in northern France.

“We ask all French people to make a cordon sanitaire against Emmanuel MacronLe Pen told some 4,000 supporters at the Artois Expo conference hall. The northern fringe of French territory, severely shaken by the deindustrializationrepresents one of the historical feuds of lepenismo. She was the most voted on April 10 in all her departments, with the only exception of the moderate Alsace. With an eye on the Sunday’s second roundexpects a great electoral success in the territories of the so-called “Peripheral France”the concept (surely too simplistic) formulated by the geographer Christophe Guilly that distinguishes between large prosperous cities and the rest of territories in difficulty.

Le Pen calls for a referendum against Macron

“I tell you that if you do not get involved in politics, it is politics that will take care of you through Macron,” said the xenophobic and ultra-nationalist candidate in a message to 26% of the French who did not go to the polls in the first round on April 10. “What’s the use of being every day screaming ‘Macron, resignation’, when in reality you can fire him yourselves in three days?” he added. Le Pen trusts the France of the “yellow vests” —fragmented in the first round between abstention, the vote for the extreme right and the socio-ecologist Jean-Luc Mélenchon (22% of the votes)—to successfully complete their referendum against the president, highly criticized by a considerable part of the modest categories.

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In fact, the leader of the RN referred to Wednesday’s debate to accuse the centrist leader of “condescending” and “unlimited arrogance”, two of his main mistakes in the television duel. “People of France, the time has come to rise up and unite against the oligarchy”, he concluded with an obvious populist rhetoric his rally in Arras, known to be the birthplace of the demonized Maximilien Robespierreone of the central figures of the French Revolution (1789-1794).

The president extends his advantage

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Although Le Pen trusts the French rebellion to cause an upset on Sunday, the polls show an opposite trend, since Macron is widening his advantage. According to the latest opinion polls, the centrist leader would win with 57% of the votes against 43% of his rival. This dynamic would be due to the support of the left-wing electorate, unenthusiastic about the president, but who want to prevent the extreme right from coming to power.

In search of these voters, the centrist leader visited this Thursday the Town hall of Saint-Denis, governed by the socialist Mathieu Hanotin. In this town with a communist tradition, Mélenchon literally swept 61% of the votes in the first round. A considerable part of this support could go to the Macronist ranks in the second for fear of Le Pen.

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