A journey to gain confidence. On Monday, April 18, Marine Le Pen did not want to take any chances in her last appearance before preparing the debate between the two rounds scheduled for Wednesday. She had made an appointment in front of journalists in front of Caen town hall early in the morning, but it was finally 35 km from the capital Calvados, in Saint-Pierre-en-Auge, when the Rallye National candidate appeared with a beaming smile at 11 am
In this small town of 8,000 inhabitants, where the finalist in the presidential election took first place with almost 35% of the votes ahead of Emmanuel Macron (28.3%), a welcoming committee awaits her, tricolor flags, placards and leaflets in hand. And we jostle between the market stalls to get as close as possible to the far-right candidate adored by some.
“I had never seen a star, this is the best day of my life!” calls a pensioner. “Let me through, I want a selfie with Marine. Anyway, I could pay her if needed.”She launches another resident who has white cap “Marine President” screwed on his head. Despite the imposing safety precautions, Marine Le Pen continued to shake hands, hug and exchange ideas with the many spectators.
Pension, housing, disability… Almost all of the issues are covered by sympathizers who have already championed their cause, particularly the issue of purchasing power on which the RN candidate built her campaign. “I drive 200 km a day and Marine Le Pen’s proposal to reduce VAT to 5.5% instead of 20% is the right measure. Emmanuel Macron has done nothing for us for five years while fuel prices have only gone up.”Judge Isabelle, driver who lives in the north division.
Under the eyes of some retired Normans, the walk continues. “Are you going to follow her all over town like that?” asks the wife. “To the Elysée! We will open the doors wide for him”she jokes to her husband to the applause of exuberant passers-by.
With this step on fertile ground for the extreme right, Marine Le Pen primarily wants to reassure himself. The RN candidate, much less comfortable in this campaign between the two rounds in the face of an Emmanuel Macron once again imposing his pace, cannot find himself in trouble with less than a week to go in the second round.
“I took first place in the first round in 22,000 communities because I decided to spend eight months visiting the French who do not live in big cities that are forgotten.”Marine Le Pen, Presidential candidate
However, several elected officials and Macronist activists are trying to play spoilsport. “Macron President! Macron President!” Start young sympathizers favorable to the outgoing president, handkerchiefs “Avec vous” full of pockets. L“One of them even manages to sneak between the journalists and the security forces to ask the candidate how she counts.”finance [ses] social reforms” if chosen.
“How do you finance your social and economic reforms, Madame Le Pen?” launches a macronist activist who managed to challenge the candidate. A rather polite exchange before two RN activists violently repel the young LREM sympathizer. @franceinfo pic.twitter.com/lTCtYqgm62
— Antoine Comte (@AntoineCOMTE) April 18, 2022
“I have no lesson to learn in terms of funding when we see the $600 billion in debt left behind by your candidate,” replies Marine Le Pen, before the most persistent LREM activists are turned away under threats from two very virulent young pro-Le Pen.
To the great desperation of her followers, who are still hoping for a few selfies, Marine Le Pen slips away “Lunch with Individuals”, so his campaign team. The candidate is not scheduled to make any public appearances until Wednesday night’s debate as she chose to go green at an undisclosed location.