French Ex-President Hollande Calls for Emmanuel Macron Vote

France 24


French ex-President Francois Hollande on Thursday called on voters to back President Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the country's presidential election, stressing that support for the incumbent is the best way "to ensure [Marine] Le Pen does not win."


Macron and Le Pen will face off in France’s presidential election run-off on April 24, with polls pointing to a much tighter race than the lopsided contest that saw Macron easily prevail in 2017.


"I am a former president and I know that in an election of this importance, what is key is France, its cohesion, its European future and its independence. This is why I call on the French to vote for Emmanuel Macron," Hollande, a Socialist, told TF1 television.


"The Macron vote will ensure that Madame Le Pen does not win," he added.


With just nine days to go before election day, opinion polls show Macron is ahead of his far-right rival – though by a much smaller margin than the 24-point gap in 2017.


The latest survey by pollsters Ipsos-Sopra Steria had Macron at 55 percent, 10 points ahead of Le Pen. Other pollsters point to a slightly narrower gap.



Macron served as economy minister under Hollande, who decided not to seek re-election in 2017 as he struggled with very low ratings.


The two have had a rocky relationship since Macron quit Hollande's government in August 2016 to prepare his run for the French presidency.


Hollande's endorsement means both France's surviving former presidents have now rallied behind the incumbent.


Nicolas Sarkozy threw his support behind the incumbent on Tuesday, touting Macron's experience in the face of the "grave international crisis" in Ukraine.


“I will vote for Emmanuel Macron because I believe he has the necessary experience faced with a grave international crisis,” the former conservative leader posted on his Facebook page.



“[Macron’s] economic project puts the value of work as the top priority and his commitment to Europe is clear and unambiguous,” Sarkozy added. “We must abandon our partisan habits (...). Fidelity to right-wing republican values and our governing culture must lead us to answer Emmanuel Macron's call for unity.”


The statement came just days after the candidate from Sarkozy's own conservative Les Républicains party – whom he had refused to support publicly – suffered a humiliating defeat in the first round of the election.


Valérie Pecresse obtained just 4.8 percent in the vote on Sunday, a staggering 15 points short of the party’s score five years ago under scandal-plagued candidate François Fillon.


(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP). This article is published with permission via DISCO content marketplace.


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