MS Risk Blog

French Presidential Election: Defense Minister Announces Support for Macron

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On Friday 24 March, Socialist French Defense Minster Jean-Yves Le Drian announced his support for centrist Emmanuel Macron instead of his own partys presidential candidate. The Defense Minister disclosed that the move wa necessary because victory for far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the upcoming election would be a danger to France. He is the most senior government member to endorse Mr Macron so far.

Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon, who won the primary of left-wing parties in January, has disclosed that Mr Le Drians decision did not respect voters of the left. The move comes after two junior ministers, Barbara Pompili from the Green Party and Thierry Braillard from the Radical Left party, also disclosed that they would support Mr Macron. Mr Hamon has also failed to win the backing of former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, whom he defeated in the January primary.

Meanwhile the latest poll has indicated that Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen are neck and neck in the first round, which is due to take place on 23 April. The latest polls suggest that Mr Macron, who is a former economy minister under President Francois Hollande who is seeking the presidency as an independent, would win 26% of the vote in the first round. He is just in front of Ms Le Pen, who leads the National Front (FN), on 25 %. In recent polls, the National Front leader had been projected to win the first round only to lose the run-off on 7 May to Mr Macron. Scandal-hit centre-right Republicans candidate Francois Fillon is in third place, with 17%.