French conservative candidate vows to end Macron's centrism

In her first address as a French conservative presidential candidate, Valérie Pécresse is vowing to break with President Emmanuel Macron's centrist policies and to defeat the extremism of her far-right presidential rivals

Via AP news wire
Saturday 11 December 2021 19:04
France Presidential Election
France Presidential Election

In her first address as a presidential candidate for France's main conservative party, Valérie Pécresse vowed Saturday to break with President Emmanuel Macron s centrist policies and to defeat the extremism of the far-right candidates in the race.

France is holding its presidential race on April 10, with a runoff if needed on April 24. Pécresse, head of the Paris region and a former conservative minister, is first woman chosen to run as The Republicans' presidential candidate.

Since the announcement last week, Pécresse has been gaining in popularity and some polls even have her in a runoff with Macron in the second round of voting. The French president is expected to seek a second term although he has not yet officially declared his candidacy.

Speaking at a conference hall in a Paris hotel, Pécresse assured party members that she will first beat her rivals on the far-right in order to end The Republicans’ streak of presidential defeats.

“We are back on the battlefield to win and the voters know it,” she said. “It will be Emmanuel Macron or us!”

Two far-right contenders — Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Rally party who lost to Macron in the 2017 runoff, and former TV pundit Eric Zemmour — are campaigning on anti-Islam, anti-migrant themes.

On the left, Paris Mayor Anne Hidago is the presidential candidate for the Socialist party and the Greens chose European lawmaker Yannick Jadot, a former Greenpeace activist. The far-left leader of the Rebel France party, Jean Lue Melenchon, is seeking the presidency for the third time.

An experienced politician, Pécresse, 54, has been the minister for higher education, for the budget and was a government spokesperson under former President Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007 to 2012. Pécresse left The Republicans in 2019 amid leadership divisions after the party had a poor showing in EU elections. She rejoined the party this year.

Known as a pro-European, Pécresse in recent months has hardened her positions on immigration and security. She vowed to crack down on illegal immigration but also to step up the integration of immigrants and break down the barriers faced by the immigrant “ghettos” around France’s urban centers.

She also warned against the rise of what she called “Islamism” in France.

“I am determined to stop the rise of Islamism,” she said. “In France, women are free and the laws of the Republic are respected.”

If elected president, Pécresse said she would end France’s 35-hour workweek so employees work and earn more.

And internationally, she told the audience of about 1,000 party members and supporters, “I want a strong France.”

“I want us to play a leading role in the world, not as vassals of the United States ... and not as subordinates of China and not playing second fiddle in Europe,” she said.

___

Surk reported from Nice, France.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in