Macron Challenger Says President Reformed Too Little, Overspent
(Bloomberg) -- French presidential candidate Valerie Pecresse said Emmanuel Macron has reformed too little and spent too much during his time in power.
Pecresse took aim at the current President during her first rally as the candidate for Les Republicains ahead of April’s election, touching on popular conservative issues such as fiscal responsibility, immigration and family.
“It’s out of the question to leave the future of France in the hands of immobilism or of extremism,” she said in a speech in Paris, also hinting at the far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour.
Pecresse, the head of the economically mighty Paris region, won the right-wing primary race earlier this month, beating male candidates including Michel Barnier, the former Brexit negotiator for the European Union. Should she win both rounds of voting in April, Pecresse would become the first female President of France and the first member of her party to lead since Nicolas Sarkozy left office in 2012.
“Our pensions aren’t safe, our debt is suffocating us,” Pecresse said. “France isn’t condemned to disorder or decline.” Macron tried to reform pensions two years ago, a move that led to transport strikes grinding the country to a halt. He’s since held off from working on the changes until the pandemic is over.
Pecresse also said the country needed to tackle “uncontrolled immigration,” since it leads to the “appearance of zones of non-France.” Le Pen and Zemmour have focused heavily on immigration and cultural assimilation, leading more moderate candidates to embrace the issue.
She also made a call to put back the family as the “pillar” of society, noting the risks of loneliness ahead of Christmas as the country faces a fifth wave of Covid-19. Pecresse also said she would aim to make France an economic powerhouse within ten years, overtaking Germany.
A poll by BVA published on Dec. 10. showed that Pecresse and Macron would face off in the second round of voting.
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