Emmanuel Macron, in a two-hour interview, admits many mistakes, slamming Australia not one of them

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He added: “Did I make any mistakes? Yes a lot.”

While he has yet to officially announce that he will run for a second term in April and has again dodged the question, Macron has launched a de facto campaign. He said in the interview that he was more determined than ever to continue reforming France.

Macron, who had been a minister under Socialist President François Hollande, ran in the last elections as a political outsider who was neither left nor right.

But during a presidency hit by social unrest over its pro-business economic reforms, his politics drifted to the right, alienating some center-left supporters.

“When I was elected, I loved France, and now I can tell you that I love it even more madly. I love the French,” he said. “These five years have been five years of joy, of hard work, but also of crisis, of times of doubt.”

The 43-year-old president, elected in May 2017, answered journalists’ questions at length in the sumptuous reception hall of the Elysee Palace. The pre-recorded interview was broadcast on prime time.

To be re-elected, he must win back some of his supporters, but also fend off a challenge from his conservative rival Valérie Pecresse, who, according to recent polls, has a chance of reaching the second round and beating Macron.

The new Republicans candidate who describes herself as “one-third Margaret Thatcher and two-thirds Angela Merkel” had previously protested to the state’s broadcasting regulator, saying the two-hour interview scheduled by Macron should count for their campaign airtime, The temperature reported.

Valérie Pécresse, candidate for the French presidential election of 2022, gives a speech in Paris last weekend.Credit:PA

To convince center-right or conservative voters, he insisted he would continue with the reforms – although he said his pension reform might not be as drastic as initially expected.

But to reassure those on the left, he rejected the label of “president of the rich” that some gave him when he reduced the wealth tax at the start of his mandate.

“Why were we able to protect [the vulnerable] during this [COVID-19] crisis? Because we had done the job because we had credibility, solidity, linked to labor market reforms, ”he said, referring to one of his most unpopular initiatives.

Reuters, AP


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