French President Emmanuel Macron wants to run for a second term in the April presidential elections but will not declare his intentions until he is sure, he said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper published on Tuesday.
“There is no false suspense. I want it,” Macron, the last of the top election hopefuls to have yet to declare his candidacy, told the newspaper, when asked if he was planning to show up.
“Once the health situation allows it and I have everything clarified – inside myself and in relation to the political equation – I will say what (the decision) is.”
He added: “This decision is solidifying deep within me. I have to be sure that I can go as far as I want.”
The comments to the Parisian were by far Macron’s clearest indication, but he plans to stand up – without ending the suspense over his intentions.
Macron, who came to power in 2017 by pledging to reform France and restore its status as a world power, is the big favorite to win the election, but analysts warn his victory is far from certain.
He is faced with the challenge of his former far-right rival Marine Le Pen – whom he defeated in the second round of 2017 – but also of the far-right expert Eric Zemmour who has received significant support from the start.
Most analysts believe, however, that the most credible challenge will come from right-wing Republican candidate Valérie Pecresse, if she manages to qualify for the second round.
The left has so far failed to unite behind a single candidate.
It would be a sensation if Macron decided not to run, but he seems determined to keep the suspense going for the next few weeks, insisting that his duty is as head of state and not as a candidate.
The latest opinion poll published Tuesday by the Cluster17 institute for the weekly Marianne again showed Macron well ahead in the first round but the other candidates regrouping behind him.
The poll gives Macron 23%, Pecresse and Zemmour 15% and Marine Le Pen 14.5%. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is expected to win 13 percent, he added.
Political tensions have increased in the New Year as the campaign kicks off, with feuds between Macron’s allies and the Pecresse faction erupting over a decision to fly the European flag from the Arc de Triomphe, as well as maintaining the Covid-19 legislation in parliament.
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