The Socialists and rightwing Republicans party have duly called for voters to elect Macron, but Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon, who won 19.58 percent of the vote on Sunday, gave no guidance.
While the two candidates are each considered outsiders for different reasons, their key platform differences could not be more stark.
And only then will the hard part begin, which is convincing conservative French society that his untested new politics might do better where the old ones have failed.
Even before Le Pen’s impromptu appearance, Macron’s intervention in the Whirlpool factory’s future, in a region where Le Pen got the most votes, was fraught with risk.
Hollande, a Socialist nearing the end of five years of unpopular rule, threw his weight behind his former economy minister in a televised address, saying Le Pen’s policies were divisive and stigmatised sections of the population. (Onwards!) party structure as a “movement” transcending the left-right divide.
A Le Pen presidency would have “more serious consequences” than Donald Trump’s election in the U.S., said MP Christa Markwalder from the centre-right Liberal-Radical party. Le Pen generally targets disenchanted and poor French voters but also citizens who see their country have a secondary role in Germany-led Europe as opposed to its past political superiority.
Mr. Macron is a centralist who favors free markets and the European Union.
Marine Le Pen can’t possibly win. His approach to solving them is not to try to avoid the forces of globalization, as Le Pen impossibly promises, but to tackle the regulatory framework that puts France at a competitive disadvantage. The term “Frexit” is used in the public discourse because she has promised to organize a referendum for France’s stay either in the European Union or in the euro should she become president. Where Le Pen’s visit was short – with a few selfies, hugs, kisses and a quick speech to the cameras – Macron spent over an hour patiently, and at times passionately, explaining in often-heated exchanges that as president, he wouldn’t be able to stop companies from laying off workers. “My battle is to defeat Marine Le Pen”.
Macron and Le Pen stood grim-faced among hundreds of mourners as Xavier Jugele’s gay partner delivered a moving eulogy to the 37-year-old officer, whose shooting was claimed by the Islamic State group.
Le Pen accuses Macron of aspiring to be vice chancellor of Europe, under German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while proudly declaring herself to be the “anti-Merkel”. Macron wants to extend unemployment benefits to entrepreneurs, farmers, self-employed, and those who quit jobs voluntarily. Yet the National Front did expel Jean-Marie Le Pen from the party in 2015. Nothing in his programme, she said in her TV interview, suggested he had one iota of love for France; she, by contrast, is the patriot.
Le Pen calls for a move to a “zero-carbon” economy, and to ban shale gas exploration, while setting a moratorium on windmills for power generation.
“Investors are reassured by the very likely prospect of seeing Mr. Macron at the Elysee”. She also thinks school uniforms should be mandatory.
Another protest, dubbed “Neither Le Pen Nor Macron”, is due to take place on the Place de la République on Thursday.