Emmanuel Macron ‘vulnerable’ ahead of election…but biggest threat is not from Le Pen

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The centre-right president has failed to convince many citizens that he can manage the country in a crisis, as opinion polls throughout the Covid pandemic have indicated. With just over a year to go until voters head to the ballot box for the April 2022 French presidential election, Mr Macron has been sent a dire warning.

Mujtaba Rahman, managing director at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, said the president is at serious risk of losing his position next year.

But he argued that the most obvious threat from the Marine Le Pen of the National Rally would prove to be lesser than the threat from a “credible contender” from the centre-right.

Mr Rahman tweeted: “@EmmanuelMacron is definitely vulnerable – & could lose presidential elections in April/May next year.

“But most likely to a credible contender from the centre-right, not @MLP_officiel.”

Mr Macron rose to power in 2017 on a moderate ticket, staving off Ms Le Pen’s bid to win 66 percent of votes.

But four years on the embattled president is failing to convince many French men and women that he remains the right man for the job.

Research carried out by Odoxa institute showed 81 percent believe Mr Macon’s government “does not know where it is going” in terms of handing the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ms Le Pen is making waves in opinion polls as she prepares to challenge Mr Macron once again.

A poll by Politico showed how Ms Le Pen has made steady gains on her opponent six months.

By the end of January, she was given 26 percent of the vote ahead of Mr Macron’s 24 percent.

The research illustrated how the far-right leader overtook the president in opinion polls last September.

Mr Macron’s handling of the pandemic has largely contributed to widespread scepticism of his authority.

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There is growing impatience from businesses forced to close, and from right-wing politicians, for the president to ease the restrictions.

The mayor of the French city of Perpignan on Tuesday defied the government’s COVID-19 restrictions and reopened four of the city’s museums.

This week a French mayor defied the president’s orders to reopen his city’s museums.

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Louis Aliot said, “We cannot stay locked down all our lives,” as he ushered in a semi-return to normal in Perpignan.

Mr Macron’s government has forbidden restaurants, museums, cinemas and theatres from opening to the public as it tries to contain the spread of Covid.

On Wednesday a specialist warned that more contagious Covid variants are taking hold in France, but their spread is not currently as fast as initially feared.

Bruno Lina, a French virus specialist and a member of the scientific body advising the government, told France Inter radio: “For now, we have the feeling the introduction of these variants is somewhat curtailed.”

He added that the variant first detected in Britain now accounted for around 30-35 percent of COVID-19 cases in Paris/Ile-de-France region, and that the one stemming from South

Africa represented 2-3 percent of cases in France at present.

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