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Inflation, economic hardship upend French election

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

The French presidential election was trending as an easy victory for the incumbent Emmanuel Macron, until the unrest in Ukraine began.

Macron’s insistence on long-term sanctions for Russia exploded already-high inflation. That’s resulted in widespread hardship, resentment and tough assessments of Macron’s economic record.

Polls show the race is now a dead heat, with a soaring Marine Le Pen of the National Rally taking an opposite tack - promising to oppose Russia energy sanctions which are wreaking havoc with gas, heating and food prices.

As the challenger Le Pen doesn’t have a record to defend, and she’s escaping anger over the economic crisis.

Macron’s far-right economic policies provoked the unprecedented Yellow Vest protests in 2018. He only made minor concessions before turning to brutal repression, and the coronavirus crisis only aggravated economic inequalities.

Abstention may reach record highs because many voters wonder if Le Pen would actually deliver on her populist economic promises - her party has historically been aligned with neoliberalism as well.

The French election may come down to this: Who do voters feel will protect them from the economically explosive effects of long-term sanctions on Russia, over the unrest in Ukraine. It's not a question which the mainstream media wants to discuss, but it is top of mind for the average person.

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