They multiply crowd baths, selfies, carry children at arm’s length in front of the cameras and sometimes suffer a few insults. The final sprint is well underway for the two presidential candidates. Six days before the second round, on Sunday, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are making their final campaign trips to convince voters.
But how do the two finalists choose their points of departure, before crisscrossing France, during this between-two-rounds? Emmanuel Macron surrenders “in cities where Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen have been in the lead, to confront French people who do not necessarily agree with him (…). That’s the difference between him and Marine Le Pen.” assured the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, guest of France 2 Monday April 18. He thus denounces the “charentaise countryside” of the candidate of the RN. But is he saying true or fake? Franceinfo has been looking at the travel strategies of the two finalists since Monday April 11.
Unlike 2017, Emmanuel Macron has multiplied the trips in this between-two-rounds. For a week, he has met the French men and women five days a week, taking a break on Wednesday April 13, the day of the Council of Ministers, and Sunday April 18.
His only trip to a municipality where he came first in the first round was to Paris, where he collected 35% of the votes, to visit the construction site of Notre-Dame cathedral.three years after the fire last Friday.
In his diary, only one day was devoted to a trip to Frontist lands on Monday, April 11. Emmanuel Macron exchanged with residents of Denain (North), then Carvin and Lens (Pas de Calais). These three municipalities are largely won over to RNthe votes in the first round fluctuating between 39 and 41% for Marine Le Pen. Three other days of travel targeted cities that were mostly won over to the candidate of La France insoumise. In Alsace, Emmanuel Macron spoke on Tuesday April 12 in Mulhouse and Strasbourg, where Jean-Luc Mélenchon collected 36% and 35% of the votes respectively in the first round. He granted himself a passage on conquered land in Châtenois (32% for Emmanuel Macron).
Then, Thursday March 14, he focused on renewable energies to try to convince the left-wing electorate in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), a city led by Edouard Philippe, his former Prime Minister. In this municipality, Emmanuel Macron (27% in the first round) is on the heels of Jean-Luc Mélenchon (30%). Ecology was also at the center of a long plea during his trip to Marseille on Saturday April 16, where Jean-Luc Mélenchon came out on top in the first round, with 31% of the votes, or 9 points more than Emmanuel Macron.
By this route, “Emmanuel Macron has clearly favored left-wing lands”notes Pascal Perrineau, university professor at Sciences Po Paris, contacted by franceinfo. “The themes addressed have changed, with more social, ecological, unlike the right-wing themes of the first round.” Gabriel Attal is therefore telling the truth: Emmanuel Macron has indeed targeted “hostile” lands during his recent wanderings.
For her part, the far-right candidate traveled six days out of seven, one more than Emmanuel Macron. She stopped Monday morning in the market of a neighboring town of Caen (Calvados), Saint-Pierre-en-Auge, where she came first with 34.91% of the vote in the first round. Does she opt for the “ease” when traveling?
During the first week of the between-two-rounds, she effectively chose two conquered lands. Monday, April 11, she visited a farmer in the village of Soucy (Yonne), 1,500 inhabitants, 36% of votes for Marine Le Pen in the first round. Saturday April 16, she visited Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre. In this town of 4,000 inhabitants located near Dreux (Eure-et-Loir), 37% of the votes were attributed to him on April 10. The candidate made a stop there in a PMU bar, then met traders from a flea market.
But the other days were devoted to visits to towns that were not favorable to him. In Vernon (Eure), where Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon were neck and neck (29% and 28% of the votes), Marine Le Pen received a mixed reception on Tuesday April 12. In front of the Normandy Hotel, the “Marine President!” chanted echoed the “Marine, Putin!“The next day she meet workers at a cement plant in Asnières-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine), where Emmanuel Macron came out on top in the first round, with 35% of the vote.
On Thursday 14, she went to Avignon for a meeting. A city acquired by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (36% of the vote), where it only won 18.9% of the vote on April 10. “This city, which is not a large metropolis, is part of the Mediterranean arc favorable to the RN, with local relays, nuance Pascal Perrineau. It is a question of sending a signal to recover the electorate who has gone to Eric Zemmour.
Finally, on Friday, she was heckled when visiting the market of Pertuis (Vaucluse), to the sound of “Marine get out, France is not yours!” and challenged on her position on the wearing of the Islamic veil. In this municipality, she followed Emmanuel Macron in the first round (25.79% for him against 25.45% for her).
Gabriel Attal’s assertion is therefore not entirely accurate. Emmanuel Macron mostly rubs shoulders with territories dominated by the left or the far right. But Marine Le Pen does not give in to the ease of staying with her supporters. She adopts the same strategy to convince her opponents.