‘Guaranteed downgrading of France’ French PM lambasts Marine Le Pen’s presidential agenda

French PM lambasts Le Pen’s agenda as 'assured downgrading'

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French President Emmanuel Macron and candidate Marine Le Pen are on a razor-thin margin in the polls ahead of the second round, as President Macron would get 54 percent of the votes and Ms Le Pen 46 percent. Compared to 2017, the gap between the two candidates has narrowed by 10 percent and has Mr Macron’s allies rooting for him. His Prime Minister threw the last punch on French radio RTL this morning, aiming directly at Ms Le Pen’s agenda. Jean Castex told RTL: “The programme of Marine Le Pen, I say, is the assured downgrading of France. It’s the guaranteed downgrading of France, in Europe and internally.

“And the first to suffer, I say, are not the rich. They will always get by.

“The (Le Pen’s) programme that distributes pixie dust and that will bring down the French economy, the first victims will be the poor and those struggling.” 

The cost-of-living crisis has had both candidates clashing on Monday.

On the campaign trail, Ms Le Pen lashed out: “Emmanuel Macron, if by some mischance he was re-elected, would feel totally free to continue his policy of social wreckage.”

In an interview for the newspaper La Voix du Nord, President Macron slammed: “Ms Le Pen is a demagogue. She is someone who tells people what they want to hear when they want to hear it.”

Ms Le Pen ran her campaign on the promise to revive working-class people’s economic power and protect France’s interests.

Emmanuel Macron, who has been relatively absent from the campaign trail, wants to restore the French’s purchasing power. 

The economy strikes a chord with French voters amid skyrocketing energy prices and inflation induced by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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Mr Castex added: “I understand these concerns with the crisis in Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron is really in the best position – whether internationally or domestically – to deal with the situation of each and every one of our fellow citizens.” 

“The real choice for the country on 24 April is whether we collectively give ourselves the means to deal with this.”

“For me, however, given what I’m fighting for, I think it’s a major event. You have to be aware of that.”

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Referring to the 2002 presidential election, French Prime Minister Castex hopes his government can achieve the same mobilisation as former President Jacques Chirac.

In 2002, the second round opposed Jacques Chirac and Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

To stop Le Pen’s far-right party from gaining power, the French electorate massively voted for Chirac who won with 82 percent of the votes.

Mr Castex concluded: “Really, I say it: the choice for the French, for the interest of the country, for progress, for social justice, is the choice of Emmanuel Macron”.

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