Emmanuel Macron offers a way to run for re-election but stops at announcing his candidacy

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to pursue economic reforms begun since he took office in 2017 but has stopped short of confirming that he will run for re-election next April, despite his lead. in opinion polls and widespread expectations that he would try. for a second term.

In a two-hour primetime television interview on TF1 television on Wednesday night, Macron defended his presidential record of the past four and a half years in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. , launched reforms to liberalize the economy and tackle opponents. -goverment gilets jaunes demonstrations, as well as responding to attacks by Islamic extremists.

He says he’s learned to love the French like never before but also admits he’s made frequent mistakes. “I make mistakes, yes, a lot,” said Macron, “who has been accused by his opponents of being an arrogant president of the rich in the past. “I try not to repeat them.”

Opposition politicians immediately criticized Macron and TF1 for what they painted as a lighthearted interview that allowed him to make the case for re-election without officially declaring his campaign.

Eric Ciotti of the right-wing Les Républicains, whose nomination for the election has been shown by polls to have a good chance of beating Macron, said: “It’s a propaganda program by one candidate. “The Elysée was frightened by the candidacy of the Valerie Pecresse,” said Ciotti during a TF1 debate shortly after the interview.

Jordan Bardella’s Marine Le PenThe far-right Rassemblement National calls Macron a “smug” president who is clearly a candidate. Boris Vallaud of the Socialist party said the interview, billed as about where France is headed, instead meant “we’ve heard a lot about Macron’s position with himself”.

Macron defends the need to modernize France’s costly pension system – a landmark reform suspended during the pandemic – by simplifying 42 different regimes in place, but he accepts that the plan to replace them with a single system was causing too much concern and would have to be rectified.

He also said it is certain that the retirement age will be increased from 62 to ensure pensions are sustainable. “We all have to be prepared for the idea that we will work longer,” he said.

Macron’s opponents on the right and far right, including the anti-immigration polemicist Eric Zemmour, has brought immigration and law and order the most prominent themes of the campaign to date, prompting Macron to reaffirm determined to “control” immigration without stopping it altogether, as some of his opponents have pledged.

“There have never been zero immigrants,” Macron said. “Yes, we have a problem managing it. [But] we need this immigration of workers, in a limited, selective and controlled way to power our economy.”

An opinion poll published Wednesday by Harris Interactive for Challenges magazine gave Macron the lead in intent to vote for the first round of the presidential election, with 24%, followed by Pécresse with 17%, Le Pen with 16 and Zemmour with 15.

https://www.ft.com/content/66dacee8-3140-4886-96e8-d856e5edefaa Emmanuel Macron offers a way to run for re-election but stops at announcing his candidacy

Ian Walker

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