President Emmanuel Macron began his re-election campaign on March 4 with the release of a video message in which he justified his performance as president.
Macron said he regretted not being able to propose his candidacy earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine, as he shared a glimpse of his day at the Elysee Palace office.
Although surveys show a rise in Macron's approval ratings, putting him ahead of his opponents, one day after formally announcing his candidacy for president on April 10, he stressed the need of gaining the French people's trust.
The Ukraine war could boost Macron’s re-election chances. His rivals are the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour on the far right, and the conservative Valérie Pécresse. Mélenchon, Le Pen and Zemmour have a history of openly admiring Putin, the Financial Times reported. On the other hand, a lot of the French people are against the war in Ukraine.
Anti-immigration Zemmour has even said that he has dreamt of a French Putin to revive the country.
According to a Harris opinion poll on how French voters view the war found that 58 per cent of respondents thought Macron had been fully or fairly equal to the challenge of the Ukraine crisis. The fact that Macron has engaged in intense conversations with Putin trying to sway the latter against an invasion, seems to have worked in Macron’s favour.
Foreign politics usually doesn’t play a decisive role in French politics. But, Macron’s prominent international presence might work in his favour. The first round of presidential votes is on April 10. Marine Le Pen, the candidate whom Macron defeated in 2017 by 66 per cent votes, had accepted a loan from a Russian bank in 2014 to fund her 2017 campaign. The war in Ukraine has become a key topic for political debate. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a sudden policy change on Germany and the European Union’s part on defence spending and military co-operation, something France has been recommending.
Changes Macron introduced before the pandemic struck like tax cuts and labour reforms, which garnered more interest from foreign investors, had already boosted Macron’s popularity. Macron’s strategy to save businesses and jobs post the pandemic in an attempt to revive the French economy also seems to have won hearts.