Macron’s unexpected rival closing gap on French President after big bounce in latest poll
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According to the latest poll by BVA for Orange and RTL, the French President is still the frontrunner to win the first round of the 2022 April elections with 24 percent of the votes.
But the unexpected centre-right rival, Valerie Pecresse, came second with 17 percent of the voting intentions.
The newly elected Republicains candidate is up eight points compared to last month.
The move could turn a predicted Macron-Le Pen battle into a Macron-Pecresse duel in the second round.
Marine Le Pen came third in the survey with 16 percent.
Another opinion poll published on Tuesday by Elabe, showed that Ms Pecresse has the voter support to reach the second round of France’s presidential election and even beat Mr Macron.
The poll was the first to project Macron losing the April 24 run-off since Ms Pecresse won the Les Republicains ticket on Saturday.
President Macron has yet to officially declare his candidacy.
The poll, carried out for BFM TV television and L’Express magazine, projected Pecresse winning 20 percent of expressed votes, behind Macron with 23%.
In the second round, Ms Pecresse would beat President Macron by a 52-48 percent margin, it forecast.
According to Politico, the poll has sparked panic in Macron’s circles.
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One person close to the French President said: “Some guys are panicking.”
Ms Pecresse, who has described herself as “one-third Thatcher, two-thirds Merkel”, has won the French conservative Les Republicains (LR) ticket for the 2022 presidential election on Friday, and will now aim to thwart Emmanuel Macron’s re-election bid.
Opinion polls had so far shown the 54-year-old head of the Paris Ile-de-France region winning about 11 percent of the votes at best in next April’s election, giving her little chance of making it to a second-round runoff, let alone winning it.
With nearly 61 percent of the votes in a runoff, Ms Pecresse beat right-winger Eric Ciotti for the LR ticket, the party said after a primary that was a test of whether it would remain anchored in its centre-right tradition or lurch to the right.
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Ms Pecresse said at the party’s headquarters shortly after the results were announced: “We are going to restore France’s pride and protect the French.”
She can potentially appeal to the centre-right voters Macron very much depends on but will have to seek support from more conservative voters also courted by right-wing candidates.
The unexpected candidacy of hard-right commentator Eric Zemmour has overturned the conventional wisdom that the presidential election will be a rerun of the 2017 duel between Macron and the far-right National Rally’s Marine Le Pen.
Though more moderate than Mr Ciotti, Ms Pecresse and her rivals for the LR ticket all drifted further to the right on immigration and on law and order.
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