Macron launches re-election bid to shield French from ‘world disruption’

French President Macron gives a televised address on the Russian invasion of Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron appears on a screen as he delivers a speech on the Russian invasion of Ukraine March 2, 2022 in Paris, France. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

March 3, 2022

By Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he will run for a second term in April’s elections and seek a mandate to help the euro zone’s second-biggest economy recover from the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 pandemic.

Macron announced his offer in a letter published by several regional newspapers.

If he succeeds, he would be the first French leader in two decades to win a second term.

“We haven’t achieved everything we set out to do. There are decisions I would probably make differently with the experience I’ve had from you,” Macron said in the letter, listing the various crises he has faced over the past five years, including militant attacks, COVID , riots and war .

He defended his record and pointed to unemployment at a 15-year low. “I’m running to defend our values, which are being threatened by the world’s unrest,” he added.

Without issuing a detailed manifesto, Macron said he would cut taxes further and urge the French to work more, and suggested a return to an abandoned pension reform. He also hinted at reform of the education system, saying teachers should be freer and better paid.

Macron is entering the presidential race just about a month before the first round of voting on April 10. Opinion polls place him as the favorite if he wins a contest where multiple challengers on the right and left splinter the vote.

The war in Ukraine has already turned the campaign on its head, making Macron’s entry into the race more difficult and leaving behind two far-right contenders who have so far performed strongly in polls to justify their previous pro-Russia and pro-Putin stance.

With Macron at the forefront of Europe’s efforts to bring about a ceasefire and a peaceful solution to the conflict, a campaign with fewer incumbent rallies and an unusual focus on foreign policy lies ahead.

Macron, who has spoken to Putin 11 times on the phone this year, has said he will carry on while the war rages on, acknowledging in the letter that because of the war he will not be able to campaign in the way as he would have wished.

That must not harm his chances. Voter polls have shown support for Macron soaring as far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour revise their views on ties with Moscow and amid a wave of sympathy for Ukrainian refugees.

Macron became France’s youngest head of state since Napoleon five years ago, presenting himself as a political maverick who would break the old left-right dichotomy, make France more investor-friendly and the EU stronger.

He cut taxes on big business and the wealthy, relaxed labor laws and marketed France Inc. as a start-up nation, but anti-government “yellow vest” protests and then the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to slow his reform plans.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Lough, Ingrid Melander and Andrew Heavens) Macron launches re-election bid to shield French from ‘world disruption’

Bobby Allyn

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