Macron shies away from fielding candidate in Le Pen stronghold

Marine Le Pen has held the constituency of Hénin-Beaumont since 2017
Marine Le Pen has held the constituency of Hénin-Beaumont since 2017 - FRANCOIS GREUEZ/SIPA/Shutterstock

Emmanuel Macron has shied away from fielding a candidate to compete against Marine Le Pen in the parliamentary elections.

Six candidates will challenge the leader of the National Rally (RN) in her stronghold constituency of Hénin-Beaumont in the Pas-de-Calais, northern France, which she has held since 2017.

But Ensemble, the president’s centre-right coalition which includes his Renaissance party, will be conspicuously absent from the ballot.

Alexandrine Pintus, the former Renaissance representative, told local paper La Voix du Nord: “I regret that I was not called back.”

Hénin-Beaumont is one of 67 seats where Mr Macron’s coalition will not be putting up a candidate.

Instead, the party will give their tacit endorsement to Dorian Lamy, the constituency’s centre-right candidate.

There are 577 seats up for grabs in the upcoming parliamentary vote, which was called abruptly in the wake of Macron’s humiliating European elections defeat to the RN.

The president’s party hopes that by standing aside in certain constituencies it can block the RN, but some analysts predict the snap poll could lead to an electoral wipeout.

Gabriel Attal, the prime minister, explained on Monday: “There are some constituencies, around sixty, where we know that it would not be our candidates who would be best placed to avoid the victory of the extremes.

“And in these cases, we support another candidate.”

Along with Ms Le Pen’s stronghold, Mr Attal confirmed that the president’s coalition would not field a candidate in Corrèze, where François Hollande, the former president, is running. There too, the coalition will support the Right-wing candidate.

But between the lack of candidates and the emergence of Right and Left bloc coalitions, fears of being erased from the lower assembly are growing within Mr Macron’s camp.

An unnamed candidate told Le Figaro: “Between the left bloc and the right bloc, we are going to be wiped out and end up with 80 deputies.”

Macronistes begin job hunting

Some of Macron’s most loyal soldiers, or Macronistes, have begun job hunting, circulating their CVs rather than campaign leaflets and looking at the country’s unemployment benefits to evaluate their options, Le Figaro reported.

While morale is low, other Macron loyalists have vowed to go down fighting.

“It’s better to die with a sword in hand,” another deputy from Macron’s coalition told French paper L’Opinion.