In a bid to woo left-leaning voters for the final round of the French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron on Saturday called his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen a “climate sceptic” and trumpeted his own plans to build an economy green.
Speaking in Marseille at his only major rally before the vote on April 24, the incumbent Liberal candidate presented the election as a “choice of civilisation” and pledged to make France a “great environmental nation”. .
“The choice today is clear. The far right is a climate-skeptical project, a project that wants to get out of Europe’s climate ambitions, that wants to destroy windmills,” Macron told nearly 3,000 people.
Devoting most of his speech to his environmental ambitions, Macron portrayed his opponent’s idea of dismantling wind farms and imposing a moratorium on new wind and solar energy projects in France while building new power plants. nuclear as disconnected and dangerous.
“Good luck and good use of taxpayers’ money,” he said.
It’s an effort to attract supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left candidate who came in at a surprisingly strong third place with 22% in the first round last week. Mélenchon has made climate and environmental issues a key part of his campaign, but so far he has not encouraged his supporters to support Macon. However, he made it clear that his constituents should avoid Le Pen, saying they should “not give him a single vote”.
Polls show that 41% of Mélenchon supporters say they will not take part in the second round, with 37% opting for Macron and 22% for Le Pen. With POLITICO’s poll of the polls showing Macron ahead of Len Pen 54% to 46%, he needs those reluctant voters to show up.
FRANCE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL POLL POLLS
For more survey data from across Europe, visit POLITICS Survey of surveys.
Macron was in Marseille to persuade the waverers that it made sense to support him, campaigning in a city where Mélenchon took first place last week.
While many Mélenchon voters are wary of Macron’s economic liberalism, he sees an opportunity to seduce them by highlighting his green credentials.
The French president has promised that his next prime minister will be “directly responsible for ecological planning”, a concept invented by Mélenchon to ensure coordinated government measures to combat climate change.
A minister for energy planning and another for environmental planning would work to make France the first major country to stop using gas, oil and coal and to develop railways, electric cars and transport public,” Macron said.
The incumbent operator has pledged to reduce air pollution, plant 140 million trees, fight for a European carbon tax and accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gases. Macron said he would close 50 large open landfills over the next three years and ensure CEO bonuses are based on their company’s environmental performance.
Launching a “green economy”, Macron proposed building 50 offshore wind farms by 2030 and six new nuclear reactors.
While defending his environmental record, Macron admitted that France would have to move “twice as fast” to meet the Paris climate change agreement.
Le Pen was in Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre in central France on Saturday, where she promised to help “the most vulnerable” – a continuation of her efforts to shed her far-right image and play on economic problems.
But his adversaries ensure that his past positions are not forgotten. Around 15,000 people took to the streets to protest Le Pen, who has been criticized for his hostility to immigrants, has been closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and accused of supporting policies that could destroy the EU if elected .
She called the protests “deeply anti-democratic”.
Nearly 500 artists also called on the French to vote for Emmanuel Macron.
“If Emmanuel Macron was sure to win, he wouldn’t be looking for athletes and actors,” replied Le Pen.