Former French minister Arnaud Montebourg has claimed that populist party leader Marine Le Pen could win next year’s presidential elections.
Montebourg, who served as minister of industrial renewal under former President François Hollande from 2012 to 2014, stated that President Emmanuel Macron is “hated because he is arrogant” and added that Macron’s actions would lead to a victory for Ms Le Pen.
“It’s the same as the Trump phenomenon or Brexit,” Montebourg said and added that President Macron represented “the oligarchy”, and the French president merely posed as a “bulwark to the extreme right”, newspaper Le Figaro reports.
The former minister’s comments come after a shock poll released in January revealed that both President Macron and Ms Le Pen were almost neck and neck in polling in the first round of the presidential elections and in a head-to-head second round.
While the first round polling put Le Pen ahead of Macron by 27 per cent to 24 per cent, the French presidential system’s second-round run-off has made it incredibly difficult for outsider candidates in the past.
Poll: Le Pen and Macron Almost Neck and Neck in French Presidential Second Round https://t.co/TgMwEV379o
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 28, 2021
In 2017, when Le Pen made it through to the second round to face Macron for the first time, she lost by a considerable margin after some had predicted a possible win for the populist candidate, including investment bank Goldman Sachs. Two-round voting systems have the effect — either by design or not — of disadvantaging outsider candidates, as establishment voters of all stripes can cast aside their differences to vote in a moderate against an insurgent who may have managed to emerge from round one as the single most popular candidate but short of an overall majority.
Polls between Macron and Le Pen remain close, with an Ifop survey released on March 17th showing that Le Pen would win the first round of the vote with a clear lead of around 28 per cent, four points ahead of Macron at 24 per cent.
The poll also found that Le Pen would likely lose to Macron in a second-round run-off but notes that the share of the vote for Macron has fallen in recent months.
Support for Macron among the far-left supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon has also fallen since 2017, though nearly half said they would abstain from voting if Mélenchon did not pass through to the second round.
The poll also revealed that Paris’s left-wing mayor Anne Hidalgo would likely lose to Le Pen in a second-round vote due to many supporters of centre-right candidate Xavier Bertrand abstaining.