Just days before the French public makes its final choice, President Emmanuel Macron is leaning on the economy and climate issues to woo voters, while immigration plays a key role in the campaign promises of far-right challenger Marine Le Pen.
In round one of the 2022 French presidential elections, on April 10, incumbent Macron led with 27.85% of the vote followed by Le Pen with 23.15%, propelling both into a runoff set for April 24.
However, the elections have so far been anything but a replay of the first Macron-Le Pen faceoff, in 2017, which Macron won. In the first round of that year’s elections, Macron won 24% of the votes while Le Pen got 21%.
On the campaign trail, Macron promised that the new prime minister will be directly responsible for climate issues and will prioritize an economy that encourages reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. He also said six new nuclear power plants will be built if voters give him a second term.
Pledging to raise pensions to at least €1,100 ($1,193), Macron also said he will issue food vouchers to 8 million people facing financial woes.
On immigration, he vowed to deport those who do not have the right to asylum as well as foreigners who “threaten public order.”
He also said strengthening EU policies in the fields of health, industry, defense, and technology are among his priorities.
Right-wing challenger Le Pen's election campaign mainly focuses on immigration and the economy.
Her pledges include passing a new law on immigration and holding a referendum on it, controlling and restricting the entry of foreigners into the country, the deportation of foreigners who are involved in serious crimes and “threaten public order,” revoking the right to citizenship under certain conditions for those born in the country, and revoking residence permits of foreigners who have not worked for one year.
She also promises to hold a referendum to determine the French public’s priorities in the areas of employment, welfare, and housing, as well as canceling income tax for people under 30, slashing the energy VAT rate from 20% to 5.5%, and ending the use of wind turbines.
Le pen also wants France to pull out of NATO's military wing.