Press TV, Paris
Waiting until the final moment to register, in order to skirt laws on equal media time for election candidates, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed he will run for re-election. The slate of candidates is now finalized.
Macron began his term hailed as the “new leader of the free world” but his once-in-a-century repression of the Yellow Vests has many calling him a “liberal strongman” who enforces “rubber bullet liberalism.”
Macron is leading in the first round and has a comfortable lead in the second round of roughly 60 to 40 over far-right mainstay Marine Le Pen. The Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine has given Macron a 5 point increase in the past two weeks, and the ending of extremely strict coronavirus rules in mid-March may lead to another increase.
However Western polling agencies have become severely discredited in recent years, with France’s largest newspaper refusing to run any of them. The campaign hasn’t been centered around the incumbent’s record but openly Islamophobic ideas.
Despite running third or fourth in the polls, far-right convicted racist Eric Zemmour has been allowed by media executives to set the agenda. The resulting lack of serious issues appears certain to produce record abstention. Just 52% of France is interested in the vote this year, compared to 78% for the last election.
Just last month all the leading candidates were openly pro-Russian, but France’s media has been swept by war hysteria, which usually benefits the incumbent party. For many in France at least that has pushed Islamophobia off the agenda for the time being.