French presidential candidates turn to working class to vote –

Three candidates for the French presidential election carried out a vast seduction operation this weekend aimed at the working class, the most numerous but the least mobilized at the polls. EURACTIV UK reports.

On Saturday February 5, the two far-right candidates, Marine Le Pen of the Rassemblement National and Éric Zemmour of the Reconquête, organized rallies in Reims and Lille respectively.

Fabien Roussel, presidential candidate of the French Communist Party, organized his rally on Sunday February 6 in Marseille – one of the strongholds of his competitors from the radical left party La France Insoumise.

Le Pen consolidates its base

The biggest challenge for Le Pen, who 29% of popular voters support according to a Feb. 3 IFOP poll, is consolidating his base, the far-right leader in Reims said.

Thus, alongside the themes of immigration and identity, his speech included a series of measures intended to “give money back to the French”.

In addition to lower taxes on fuel and gasoline, the candidate also promised the establishment of aid for single-parent families and a minimum monthly pension of €1,000. She also proposed to increase the salaries of teachers and the allowance for disabled adults, which benefit 1.2 million people.

To get even closer to the citizens and show his concern for the “France of the forgotten”, Le Pen has also launched the “5,000 markets operation” during which Le Pen, his spokespersons and party activists will criss-cross the France meeting the people. .

With declining voting intentions, the far-right leader is trying to remobilize her troops, who did not show up in the 2021 regional elections in particular.

Her goal is also to find a position where she can again face the president “not yet a candidate” Emmanuel Macron, who, according to her, is responsible for having created “a polytraumatized France” and “a machine which crushes hopes under the pretext of progressivism.

Le Pen wants the EU to be “the association of free nations”

After the defeat in the 2017 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally renewed its discourse on Europe, aiming to attract a wider electorate, but it is not certain that this change will give Le Pen a chance to win the keys to the Elysée in April

Zemmour in search of legitimacy

Éric Zemmour, who organized a rally in Lille, also emphasized purchasing power in his speech.

The candidate who wants to “reward work” in a more liberal spirit than his far-right competitor has focused his proposals on businesses.

Once elected, Zemmour said he wanted to restore “the de-taxation of overtime [work]and the creation of a “zero charge bonus”, the objective of which is to grant employees “a thirteenth, fourteenth or even fifteenth month free of charge for the employee or the employer, which will reward merit”.

Zemmour, who considers the social protection system “an insult”, prefers to “stop wasting public money” on foreigners but proposes a “birth allowance” of €10,000 where families would receive money for each “French child” born in a rural commune.

The former polemicist also promised to fund his proposals by ending funding for immigrants, whom he called “our own replacement”, and “welfare to foreigners”.

With this, Zemmour tries to show that his concerns are close to those of the most modest French people in the hope of collecting the votes of a large part of the electorate.

Unlike Le Pen, Zemmour is not doing so well with close voters, as the IFOP poll indicates that only 9% of them favor him.

Zemmour presents a European anti-immigration vision similar to that of Le Pen

Éric Zemmour, the fiery far-right candidate for the French presidential election, chose to clarify his anti-immigration vision of Europe in Calais. If he will not plead for Frexit, he will try to renegotiate the Schengen agreement, and “if necessary” to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

The “Roussellation Theory”

Fabien Roussel, Communist Party candidate in the French presidential elections, also focused on the working class at the big rally in Marseille.

Echoing the “trickle down theory” once advocated by Macron, the communist proposed the “Rundown Theory” consisting of “raising wages and pensions” because “what is expensive is the rich!”

To involve them in the efforts necessary to support the purchasing power of the French, Roussel undertakes not only to restore the wealth tax – which the government has replaced by a tax on real estate wealth – but to triple it.

He added that the fight against tax evasion would also provide additional leeway to help raise the minimum wage, known as the SMIC, to a net amount of €1,500 or free driving licenses for those under 25.

We must also support companies by lowering “the real costs that weigh on them: the cost of electricity, gas, insurance, bank interest, the cost of capital”, added the candidate.

Roussel, who also wants to see a “France of purchasing power”, also wants to put a stop to the relocation of companies outside France and favor a French and carbon-free industry to counter the destruction of industrial jobs and thus recreate employment for workers. Classes.

Still very low in the polls with around 3%, Roussel’s wish is to renew a broken link between the left and the most modest electorate – which is currently turning massively towards Le Pen – but also to “create the surprise ” in 2022, hoping to federate beyond its own camp.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]