‘Playing with fire!’ Left-wing newspaper abandons hapless Macron ahead of crunch vote

Emmanuel Macron: Polls show Marine Le Pen's popularity rising

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France’s leading left-wing newspaper Liberation warned the French President he was losing the support of left-wing voters ahead of the 2022 presidential elections. The French daily accused Mr Macron of being in “flagrant denial” over his chances to win against National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen.

The French leader won against the right-wing politician in the 2017 elections thanks to left-wing voters who turned up to the polls with the sole aim of blocking Ms Le Pen.

But Liberation warns such voters will not be willing to do the same this time around.

The newspaper warned Mr Macron was”playing with fire” by assuming the left was going to mobilise for him again next year.

The newspaper said: “On the evening of the first round (in 2017), leading just ahead of Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron implored those he had failed to convince: ‘Take the risk that is yours to join me.’

“Four years later, the RN is higher than ever in the polls and the hypothesis of a return match between Macron and the far-right candidate is credible.”

Speaking to Liberation, Macron’s closest ally Clement Beaune admitted he was worried about the left abandoning the cause.

The French EU affairs minister said: “If this scenario comes true, the behaviour of the left-wing electorate worries me.

“People will not want to make a choice ‘against’, sometimes for the third time in their life since 2002.

“I do not want us to resign ourselves to the presence of an extreme right, which presents itself in a more chic or more sober but which has not changed fundamentally: brutality, division, exclusion.”

He added: “We need to show more clearly that we have not lost our left float and we have enough to prove it.

“For example, we are the country in Europe that has hosted the most refugees rescued at sea for three years.

“It is not laxity, it is our honour and I assume it.

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“Likewise, the President was very clear on the need to do more against discrimination or to be intractable with cases of police violence. ”

Ms Le Pen has come within reach for the first time of beating the French President.

A Harris survey published at the end of January suggested Ms Le Pen is close to breaching the “glass ceiling” of French politics.

The barrier was based on the longstanding assumption that an absolute majority of voters would never back a far-right candidate.

If the next year’s election was staged now, Ms Le Pen would have 48 percent of the vote, with Mr Macron on 52 percent, according to the poll carried out online on January 19 and 20.

The four-point difference, which is within the margin of error, compared with a June 2020 Ifop poll that put Mr Macron at 55 percent and Ms Le Pen at 45.

In 2017, Mr Macron, who at the time was a debutant politician running as an independent candidate, crushed Ms Le Pen with 66 percent to her 34 percent.

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