Macron, Not Candidate but Already Campaigning for Reelection

By SYLVIE CORBET, The Related Press

PARIS (AP) — He has a full marketing campaign workforce that’s fanning out round France, assembly with voters. He makes speeches about his plans for the nation within the upcoming years. The issue? Emmanuel Macron hasn’t formally declared that he’s a candidate for April’s presidential election but.

Critics say he’s unfairly utilizing his taxpayer-funded presidential pulpit to marketing campaign for a second time period whereas dragging out his broadly anticipated announcement so long as potential.

Lower than two months earlier than April 10’s first spherical, Macron’s intention isn’t any thriller. He mentioned final month that he has “the need” to run for a second time period, however he wished to attend for the COVID-19 state of affairs to enhance earlier than making a call. The deadline to formally declare candidacy is March 4.

Far-right presidential contender Eric Zemmour accused Macron of attempting to make use of the pandemic argument to make French voters overlook about what he considers France’s decline.

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“Is Emmanuel Macron utilizing the well being disaster to begin campaigning? The reply is sure,” Marine Le Pen, the opposite far-right candidate, charged. Just like the U.S. and most European international locations, France lately began easing most virus restrictions because the unfold of the virus is slowing down.

Macron additionally defined he wished to concentrate on the Ukraine-Russia disaster first. On the flight between Moscow and Kyiv final week, he informed reporters that he’ll “take into consideration” declaring his candidacy later. “Every little thing is available in due time,” he mentioned.

But his current journeys throughout French areas are likely to more and more seem like marketing campaign occasions.

A go to this month to northern France, throughout which he introduced an extra 100 million euros to spice up the financial system in a former mining space, was adopted by dozens of journalists from nationwide and worldwide media, desperate to see whether or not he would undertake a campaigning tone.

A gathering with native officers included a key political rival from The Republicans social gathering, Xavier Bertrand, who’s actively campaigning with conservative candidate Valérie Pécresse.

So near the election, “that go to is a candidate’s go to, with lies and untruths. The hypocrisy should cease. An electoral journey can’t be paid for by the Republic,” Bertrand mentioned after listening to Macron’s plans for the area.

The pinnacle of The Republicans’ social gathering, Christian Jacob, denounced “misuse of public cash” and mentioned he reported the difficulty to the Nationwide Fee on Elections Financing.

France has strict guidelines about financing a presidential marketing campaign. The sum of money a presidential contender is allowed to spend for the primary spherical is 16.8 million euros ($19.1 million), with an extra 5.6 million euros ($6.4 million) for individuals who qualify for the run-off. After the election, the French state reimburses candidates who received at the least 5% of the votes half of their marketing campaign prices.

In 2012, conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy introduced his bid for a second time period — which he misplaced to Socialist Francois Hollande — simply over two months earlier than the election. The Nationwide Fee on Election Financing later dominated that some bills he incurred months earlier than to prepare a rally in southern France had been to be included in marketing campaign counts, though he had not formalized his candidacy at the moment.

Sarkozy was final yr sentenced to a yr of home arrest for unlawful marketing campaign financing. He appealed the ruling.

Macron’s social gathering has already launched a so-called “marketing campaign of the presidential majority” that’s being deployed throughout the nation by way of posters and leaflets selling an internet site referred to as “With You.” The web site doesn’t point out Macron’s title however invitations web customers to subscribe to a e-newsletter to comply with “marketing campaign information.”

The Constitutional Council lately introduced that Macron was the primary to obtain the five hundred signatures from elected officers which can be required beneath French regulation to permit somebody to run within the presidential election. The rule is supposed to restrict the variety of candidates.

Since Jan. 1, French tv and radio broadcasters are additionally required by regulation to supply “truthful” publicity to all candidates and would-be candidates — primarily based on their estimated weight within the marketing campaign. The rule consists of Macron himself, but its implementation is advanced as a result of all feedback thought of a part of the political debate are to be counted however these attributed to the function of president will not be.

The distinction can typically appear delicate. On Thursday, Macron went to the japanese city of Belfort to announce the development of six new nuclear reactors. It’s as much as the president to resolve France’s vitality technique.

In his speech, he additionally harshly criticized “those that say we don’t want nuclear (vitality),” in a reference to the Greens and far-left candidates’ marketing campaign platforms.

“Are you able to think about France in 30 years time with 40,000 windmills as an alternative of 8,000 now?,” he requested. “That’s what supporters of phasing out nuclear energy are proposing immediately to the French. It’s not severe.”

Rivals additionally mentioned Macron, a pro-European, is utilizing France’s six-month presidency of the European Union as a springboard towards reelection.

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