Paris, France – Voters in France are preparing to cast their ballots in Sunday’s presidential elections, the 12th of the Fifth Republic since 1958.
The campaign was overshadowed by the Russo-Ukrainian war. Domestically, it doesn’t cause debilitating misconduct like the 2017 embezzlement scandal of Francois Fillon, the far-right Republican candidate Les.
Even the Emmanuel Macron government’s controversies surrounding the use of consulting firm McKinsey – promoted by the media – did not lead to a spark.
Preparations for the election have been marked by a mixture of apathy and anxiety, due to what political lecturer Pierre Bocquillon describes as “a foretold story” between Macron and the polar leader. owns Marine Le Pen.
Bocquillon, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, said Macron’s appeal and dynamism had diminished since the 2017 election when he announced his candidacy as a newcomer.
“Macron has failed. In fact, he hasn’t really tried to mobilize his support base which is the center right,” he said.
“He still leads in the polls by a relatively comfortable margin as a candidate for continuity and stability in times of uncertainty, but the gap to Marine Le Pen is also narrowing. as she appears to be garnering some support from other far-rights and wild card candidate Eric Zemmour. ”
Jacques Reland, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute, said the 12 candidates in the campaign did not carry a single vision, which contributed to the feeling of fatigue for a population of 48 million. France.
“Most of the agendas of the 2022 candidates are pedagogical, not quite serious and if elected, would be a disaster for France and Europe,” he said. “They focus their attacks on Macron along the lines of ‘anything but Macron’, rather than a serious vision for France’s future.”
Instead, each candidate, including Macron, announced practical measures that could please voters.
“But there’s no vision behind it,” said Reland, describing the elections as “boring for a lot of people.”
“There is a kind of fatigue in the French population.”
Wolf disguised as a lamb
Despite concerns that this election could be higher than any previous one, there are some, like Gabriel, 24, who have yet to decide who to vote for.
“I am still hesitating between the two candidates,” said the e-commerce employee standing outside the police station. “I am still young and I am more and more interested in politics. It’s a great occasion to know more about the country and what is at stake. ”
The rise of the far right – expected to take a third of the total vote – is frightening, he added.
“That’s why we have to vote on Sunday.”
No president has ever won with an outright majority. The second round of the election will take place on April 24, giving the two leads an extra two weeks to campaign.
Macron won the last election by a favorable margin thanks to his strategy of forming a “republican shield”, or last line of defense, against Le Pen and her far-right ideals with how to get other parties to support him.
This time, Bocquillon said, he intends to do the same.
“It can be a successful strategy to cling to power, but it is also a risky strategy,” says Bocquillon. “First, there are a lot of people who are still undecided, and chances are that the abstention rate will be higher than usual.”
This strategy also allows far-right ideology to appear more and more in public discourse, he added.
According to Reland, Macron and Le Pen stand in the polls in two age groups: 25-34 and 50-64.
“The scary thing is that Marine Le Pen is now seen as a serious candidate and accepted by many,” he said. “She looks like the girl next door who will pack for you when you’re on vacation. But she is a wolf disguised as a lamb.”
Also strongly opinionated by some who want to throw a kick to the table to shake things up and who say maybe it’s time to see what Le Pen can do as a president, he added.
“There is definitely a Le Pen dynamic,” says Reland, saying this is more than enough to worry about. “Thirty-nine percent of people think she will make a great president. In 2017, that number was 27%. The real campaign kicks off on April 11th.”