Presidential: Emmanuel Macron makes the election a fight on “values”

He is alone on a vast white plateau which he surveys and he speaks, at length, without notes. For his only campaign meeting, Emmanuel Macron chose, Saturday April 2, to put the package. In the huge Arena La Défense, the largest in Europe, not completely but well filled with around 30,000 spectators, he had to speak for an hour. It actually exceeded two and a quarter hours when this show-like meeting ended.

→ Presidential Analysis 2022: under pressure, Emmanuel Macron pushed to counterattack

An XXL format because the president-candidate has carried out a double exercise: to report on his assessment and to present a project for the future. Preceded and even interspersed with videos that came to recall the highlights of the five-year term, Emmanuel Macron never stopped juggling the past and the future, with great blows of repeated formulas: ” We did it “, ” We will do it “.

A performance certainly talkative but rather successful, with the complicity of an enthusiastic public and the emotional sequence, when he thanks his relatives and particularly his wife, Brigitte, without falling into pathos.

The gap with Marine Le Pen is narrowing

The adventure began five years ago and to continue it must meet a challenge that is not won. “The worst thing, said Péguy, is to have a used soul”, warns the speaker before calling on his troops to mobilize, “fight” for the home stretch.

Emmanuel Macron is given the lead in the first round according to the polls, but the progress of Marine Le Pen has sown trouble in the ranks of LREM in recent days. An Elabe poll, published on April 2, gives the outgoing president 28.5% of voting intentions (+ 0.5 points) in the first round ahead of the RN candidate who reaches 22% (+ 1 point). More worryingly, the gap between the two is still very tight in the event of a second round: they are given respectively at 57% and 43%.

Front line workers

In a context of French concern about inflation, Marine Le Pen campaigned on purchasing power. No doubt the reason why Emmanuel Macron began his long speech on social issues. The one who entered the campaign with a strong announcement on the postponement of the legal retirement age to 65 insisted on Saturday on the front line workers during the crises: nurses, teachers, farmers, that he made each time applaud.

“Our project for 2022 will be a project of solidarity, of social progress. I would never bring myself to see working French people see their entire salary go full of gas,” assures the candidate who was recently taken to task on this subject during one of his rare field trips.

→ ANALYSIS. Presidential: in search of the second round, to each his cleavage against Emmanuel Macron

He looks back on the achievements of the five-year term, rolls out the program he presented on March 17, without new announcements. He insists on the priorities for the next mandate, gender equality, child protection, education reform, in particular the professional path of which he announces the “revolution”.

He mocks the “great stunting”

The president, who had started his speech by asking the public not to hiss the adversaries, reserves the second part of his speech for the political confrontation of the moment and rings the bell. “general mobilization”. He does not mention the names of Éric Zemmour, Marine Le Pen or that of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, but they are directly targeted. He mocks the project of “great stunting” of the first, by allusion to his thesis of the great replacement. Attack the second by castigating those who “call themselves patriots but have their party financed abroad”. Criticizes the LFI candidate who, according to him, ceases to defend secularism by giving in to communitarianism.

Basically, according to the candidate, it is a battle of “values” which is at the heart of this election: it opposes the “progress” and “humanism” to “retreat” and to division. “Faced with the return of the tragic in history, we are not among those who stir up fears and designate scapegoats. We fight with the taste for universalism, the love of truth. Crises are moments of crystallization where what seemed impossible becomes possible.” assures the one who has never departed, in five years, from an optimistic bias.

La Marseillaise a cappella

Emmanuel Macron, who had placed little emphasis on Europe during the presentation of his program, ends his performance with a long plea for “this little piece of land” who has “knew how to invent the welfare state”. “Who better than Europe to interfere in the duopoly that is taking hold between the United States and China”, asks the candidate.

But in order not to leave the field of patriotism to far-right candidates, he also deploys a vibrant tribute to the “Strong France” and his heroes, from Joséphine Baker (whom he brought into the Panthéon) to gendarme Arnaud Beltrame (died in 2018). The most moving moment of this meeting was the tribute paid to Professor Samuel Paty, assassinated in October 2020. At the mention of his name, the public spontaneously intoned a cappella the Marseillaise. In short, this great meeting of Emmanuel Macron was both a moment of education and remobilization of his troops. One week before the first round, it was time.


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