Macron faces protests ahead of presidential elections; protesters cite inflation

On the eve of the French presidential election, several demonstrators took to the streets to demonstrate against the administration led by Emmanuel Macron on several issues. Members of the so-called “yellow vests” movement were also present at various protest sites. The impact of the COVID pandemic on healthcare facilities and costs are among voters’ top concerns, along with concerns about inflation.

In view of the polls to elect the French head of state, the candidates spared no effort to promise better order; in the last, Marine Le Pen, far-right presidential candidate and Macron’s main competitor, promised to penalize Muslims who wear headscarves/burqas in public. She explained how her promise to ban the headscarf in all public places, to Radio RTLadding that it would be enforced by the police in the same way seat belts are compulsory in cars.

Frace’s yellow vests demonstrate

The Yellow Vest protests in France began on November 17, 2018 with the aim of achieving ecological reforms, but quickly evolved into a demonstration in favor of broader political reforms and institutional regulation.

While voter turnout is reportedly lower than in previous years, recent trends show President Macron’s lead over his main rival, Marine Le Pen, shrinking. Apart from Macron and Le Pen, there are 10 candidates running for the second round on April 24.

Moreover, as Europe is overshadowed by the Russo-Ukrainian war, French residents have repeatedly staged protests over the cost of living and expensive facilities and insurance.

Second round of voting in France on April 24

A second round of voting is scheduled for April 24, with opinion polls showing Macron leading Le Pen by a narrow margin of 54% to 46%. Jean-Luc Mélenchon is also ramping up ahead of the election, claiming he has the potential to surprise voters.

Le Pen is seen as the clear favorite to contest for president after Sunday’s first round, despite trailing President Macron by 10 points in the fight for a place in the second round. Le Pen will hold his final campaign rally in Perpignan, a southern stronghold where his National Rally party has long enjoyed strong support and currently controls the local council.

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