Emmanuel Macron desperate to face Marine Le Pen in French election not Xavier Bertrand

Macron’s team ‘desperate’ to face Le Pen says Shields

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, James Shields, Professor of French politics at Warwick University explained how despite many viewing far-right Marine Le Pen as President Macron’s rival, is instead the ideal opponent as he “knows” he can beat her in a run off. But according to Professor Shields, Xavier Bertrand, who could throw his hat in the ring for the Elysee Palace, poses a much greater threat to President Macron’s election chances.

Professor Shields explained how Macron’s “achilles heal” is his privileged upbringing and the fact he lacks solid political experience, which could prove a real hindrance to his electoral chances next year.

He noted: “His privileged upbringing, his arrogant manner, his past as an investment banke and his lack of any experience of elected office outside the presidency” are major setbacks for the French premier.

But the professor went further in his analysis as he drew on the contenders which President Macron’s team will be monitoring closely as to how he can shape his campaign in order to get back in for a second term as President.  

Professor Shields explained: “Opposite him in the race for the Élysée are politicians who hold local and regional offices and who will project themselves as better placed than Macron to understand the people.

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“This is the essence of the populist appeals by far left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and far right Marine Le Pen.”

He explained how both Ms le Pen and Monsieur Mélenchon are claiming to be the “voice of the people” against the Parisian elite of which Macron is “held up as the epitome”.

Professor Shields added how this is also what makes Xavier Bertrand “such a potentially dangerous opponent for Macron”.

The French expert noted how Mr Bertrand “has a popular down to earth appeal” that Macron lacks adding how Mr Bertrand has recently been strongly reelected at the head of his North fo France region.

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As a result the professor was clear that despite popular belief, “the biggest electoral danger for Macron is not Le Pen”.

Instead she is “his biggest electoral ally” stressing that “a run off against Le Pen would guarantee him election.”

Professor Shield stressed instead that the biggest electoral danger for Macron comes from a candidate like Bertrand who “he could not be sure of beating in a run off”.

He explained: “That is why his team are desperate to ensure that it is Le Pen he faces in the run off and not Bertrand or another similar candidate.”


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President Macron currently has roughly 23 percent of the prospective vote, down from 24 percent on October 11, in the run-up to the French election.

At the same time, Ms Le Pen is rallying support: She has made a one percent gain over the same period, rising from 16 percent to 17 percent – though this comes after dipping significantly in recent weeks, having previously been neck-and-neck with the premier.

Despite this, Politico’s analysts expect President Macron to be on course for a second term as President, with a predicted 56 percent of the vote, with Ms Le Pen pulling in an estimated 44 percent.

Ms Le Pen is currently struggling for favour as well, as Politico puts her four points behind her position in 2017. During her second bid for the presidency, she had support from a projected 21.3 percent of French voters.

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