Emmanuel Macron running away from French presidential campaign – furious backlash erupts

Macron and Roberta Metsola hold press conference

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The pro-European Union leader has been French President since May 2017 and had been expected to lead the front-runners in the upcoming election. But with just over two months until millions of French go to the polls on April 10, Emmanuel Macron has yet to formally enter the race, throwing huge doubt over his intentions to run for a second term in France. He has come in for huge criticism in recent months, both from the French people and his political rivals, over his continued pro-EU approach and handling of the Covid pandemic in France.

Now French MEP Thierry Mariani has launched a vicious attack against Mr Macron, branding him the “great absentee” from the presidential campaign and accusing him of doing “everything possible to postpone entering the arena”.

He claimed many French people want to see him ousted as President, accusing him of “running away and protecting himself”.

Mr Mariani posted an interview he did with French news channel La Chaîne Info to Twitter, in which he said: “The real campaign will begin when the great absentee Emmanuel Macron will finally have the courage to go before the voters.

“Everyone knows Mr Macron is doing everything possible to postpone entering the arena.

“He is the pivotal candidate and many want to see him replaced.

“The campaign will really start when Mr Macron finally enters the arena, and stops running away and protecting himself.”

Mr Macron has been extremely tight-lipped over his intentions to run in the upcoming presidential election.

During a non-electoral campaign in the Creuse region of France on Monday, he would only reply “in due course” when asked by a student about his candidacy for a second term.

It would be a huge shock if Mr Macron decided not to throw his hat into the ring, particularly as there are numerous opportunities available to him with France currently holding the rotating European Council Presidency.

But that hasn’t stopped fury surging over his apparent silence on the matter.

Senator Stéphane Ravier wrote in a tweet: “His Serene Highness Emmanuel I does not want to demean himself to debate?

“Perhaps he thinks the election is not up to his level and will ask the Constitutional Council to appoint him President for life in order to get this formality over with?”

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Mr Macron could be following a trend of many French leaders before him who have left it late when announcing their intention to run for the French presidency.

In 1965, General de Gaulle announced his candidacy for a second term on November 4 – just a month before the first round was due to begin.

He refused to campaign and left the field to his political opponents, only to find himself in a dead heat in the first round.

Just over 40 years ago in 1981, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing declared his candidacy on March 2 – only 50 days before the first round.

Similarly in 2002, Jacques Chirac also played his trump card when on February 11 he announced in Avignon: “So, dear Marie-Josée Roig, you asked me a direct and frank question.

“Well, I will answer in the same spirit: Yes, I am a candidate.

“And I wanted to say it in the midst of the French people, with you.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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