Update: French presidential election 2022

Update: French presidential election 2022

With just under a week until the first round of the 2022 French presidential election, the polls are beginning to paint a clearer picture of which candidates are likely to progress and face off in the second and final round of voting.

Emmanuel Macron, incumbent and leader of the centrist political party, La République en Marche, remains in the lead with 26% (-0.5). The challenging far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, leader of Rassemblement Nationale, is stable in second place at 21% (+1%). Despite gaining some ground last week, the left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has fallen by 0.5%. With 15.5%, Mélenchon still holds a comfortable lead over Eric Zemmour in third place.

If Macron (54%) faces off with Le Pen (46%) in the final round, the polls suggest he is still likely to win the presidency for a second term. If Mélenchon (42%) beats the odds and progresses into the second round of voting, Macron's margin for victory is higher. However, Macron's campaign has been hit by the McKinsey scandal, which has benefitted Le Pen's polling numbers this week.

Macron's McKinsey crisis

The French President has come under fire for his use of McKinsey & Company, the American corporate consultancy group, after a report conducted by the French senate showed that public spending on consultants had more than doubled between 2018 and 2021. The report shows how figures increased from €379 million in 2018, to almost €893 million in 2021. The opposition have protested vigorously over the fact that the company has not paid any corporation tax in France for the last 10 years. McKinsey denies the accusations, but the issue has nonetheless put a dent in Macron's reelection campaign. Use of private consultants is proving to be a surprise topic in the French election, where there is a traditionally strong civil service sector in charge of public affairs. Macron has defended the move affirming that all public procurement policies were followed, and that additional help was required during the pandemic. The consultancy had been brought in to assist the French state in its vaccine rollout against Covid-19, as reported by POLITICO.

Le Pen calls for post-war alliance with Putin

Since the invasion of Ukraine, many politicians have scrambled to distance themselves from Russian President Vladimir Putin, yet Le Pen seemed open to the possibility of a post-war alliance with the Russian president, according to L'OBS. Le Pen suggested an alliance against Islamic fundamentalism "if it becomes more brutal". She explained that even if the war in Ukraine ends, Russia "isn't going away". Le Pen's statement came just hours after recent accounts of the horrors allegedly committed by the Russian army against the Ukrainian people.

Mélenchon – Le Pen alliance?

The left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon announced that he would consult his 310,000 supporters on what should be done if Macron and Le Pen make it the second round, wrote Ouest France. Pundits on BFM TV have discussed whether Mélenchon and Le Pen would be able to create an anti-Macron coalition to kick him out of the Élysée, but it remains unclear if the far-left would rally around a far-right candidate.

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