Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen hit campaign trail for final time ahead of French election

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen hit campaign trail for final time ahead of French election
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen hit the campaign trail for the final time on Friday ahead of the presidential election on Sunday.

The French presidential hopefuls traded barbs one final time ahead of a weekend media blackout beginning at midnight on Saturday.

The latest Ipsos poll gives Mr Macron a comfortable 7.5 percentage point lead in the polls against his far-right challenger, though Ms Le Pen on Friday said the opinion polls “aren’t what decide an election”. The president’s lead is considerably narrower than when he beat Ms Le Pen with 66 per cent of the vote five years ago.

Speaking on a visit to the northern Channel town of Etaples, she took aim at Mr Macron’s policy of extending the retirement age from 62 to 65 – a policy that sparked protests in 2020. “With Macron, the French are going to get a life sentence,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Macron played up Ms Le Pen’s endorsement of “extreme right” policies including her proposal to outlaw Muslims from wearing headscarves in public.

He said such a policy could risk sparking a “civil war” and would “abandon the founding texts of our Europe… that protects individuals, human rights and freedoms”.

“Millions of our fellow citizens have moved toward her party and project because she gives the impression that she has an answer for the problem of purchasing power. But her answers aren't viable,” he told France Inter radio.

Marine Le Pen poses for a picture with a man during her visit in the coastal city of Berck (AFP via Getty Images)
Marine Le Pen poses for a picture with a man during her visit in the coastal city of Berck (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Macron will later discuss “rural issues” in the town of Figuerac in southern France, according to AFP, while Ms Le Pen will hold a final rally in Abbeville.

From midnight, neither candidate will be allowed to give interviews and public opinion polls will also be banned.

Following an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2017, Ms Le Pen has sought to soften her image and focused her campaign on the cost of living crisis. She has also abandoned more hardline policies which have proved divisive, including leaving the eurozone.

“I want to be the president of harmony... who reconciles the people with their leaders,” she told reporters on Friday.

Mr Macron took aim at Ms Le Pen’s outspoken admiration for Vladimir Putin at a televised debate on Wednesday, accusing her of being “in the grip of Russia”.

He claimed Ms Le Pen could not lead France during the invasion of Ukraine as her National Rally party was still paying back an £8 million loan from a Moscow-based bank, taken out in 2014.

In turn, Ms Le Pen said her party “had no other choice” but to take out the loan, because “French banks would not lend to us.”

She claimed to have no allegiance to Mr Putin despite her past endorsement of his socially conservative policies and her recognition of Crimea, saying she was an “independent woman”.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting