President Hollande urges nation to back Macron and reject Le Pen in French election
French voters have been called by President François Hollande to reject far-right
candidate Marine Le Pen and back Emmanuel Macron to be his successor.
7 May The pair will face each other in a run-off vote after taking the top
places in Sunday’s first round, with Mr Macron the current favourite to win.
Mr Hollande said a far-right victory would endanger the country.
Mr Holland further said: “What is at stake is France’s make-up, its unity, its
membership of Europe and its place in the world.”
His brief TV address on Monday reflected a move by much of France’s mainstream
to line up behind Mr Macron to try to stave off Ms Le Pen.
Earlier, defeated candidates, the Republicans’ François Fillon and Socialist Benoît
Hamon, both urged supporters to vote for Mr Macron.
Ms Le Pen quickly renewed her attacks on Mr Macron on Monday, calling him a
“weakling” for his anti-terrorism policies.
The victory of Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron meant that, for the first time in six decades,
neither of France’s main left-wing or right-wing parties had a candidate remaining in
Mr Macron’s aides said on Monday. The pair will hold a TV debate on 3 May.
President Hollande said the far-right would threaten the rupture of Europe, “profoundly
divide France” and “faced with such a risk, I will vote for Emmanuel Macron”.
He said his former economy minister would “defend the values which will bring French
people together at such an important moment, a serious time for Europe, the world and
But the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris says the support of Mr Hollande will be a mixed
blessing for Mr Macron, as it will serve as a reminder to the French people that he was
previously a close adviser and minister of the unpopular head of state.
Marine Le Pen
Steeve Briois, vice-president of Ms Le Pen’s National Front (FN), said it was hoping to win over Mr
Mélenchon’s supporters, who he called “outside the system”.
“The voters who voted for Mr Mélenchon are angry voters. They can be in agreement with us,
“ Mr Briois told the Associated Press.
However, an IFOP poll on Monday of Mélenchon supporters suggested that 51% would vote
for Mr Macron and only 19% for Ms Le Pen.
Protesters who burned cars at the Place de la Bastille and Place de la Republique in Paris
overnight were chanting “No Marine and No Macron!”
The latest opinion poll, by Opinion way, suggested a second-round victory for Mr Macron
by 61% to 39%.
But there were warnings from Mr Macron’s own party following a glitzy victory celebration at
a Paris bistro that the job was not yet done.
“We need to be humble. The election hasn’t been won and we need to bring people together to win,
” Richard Ferrand, secretary-general of Mr Macron’s En Marche movement, said.
What Mr Macron stand for.
At 39, Mr Macron could become the youngest president France has ever had – and the first
president in the Fifth Republic who does not belong to a major party.
He secured 8.4 million votes – more than any other candidate – in the first round.
Mr Macron was Mr Hollande’s economy minister but quit to create En Marche.
His campaign promises include:
• Cut 120,000 public sector jobs and bring down the budget deficit
• A €50bn (£43bn; $53bn) public investment plan to cover job-training and shift to renewable energy
• Slash corporation tax from 33% to 25% and let companies renegotiate 35-hour week. Unify the pension system
• Bolster EU ties and the eurozone, higher tariffs to protect European industry, common border force
What Ms Le Pen stand for.
Ms Le Pen, 48, took over the FN leadership from her father in January 2011 and helped
her party secure big gains in regional elections.
She won 7.6 million votes on Sunday – the strongest ever result for a FN candidate, and
2.8 million more than her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, won for the FN in 2002.
Her campaign promises include:
• “Automatic” expulsion of illegal immigrants and legal immigration cut to 10,000 per year
• Abandon the euro (and return to the franc), renegotiate France’s EU membership, then hold a “Frexit” referendum
• Lower retirement age to 60 and 35-hour week assured
• Ban wearing of “ostentatious” religious symbols such as Muslim headscarves and veils in public. “Extremist” mosques closed and priority to French nationals in social housing