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Centre-right presidential pick vows to make France EU’s top power

The French conservative party's candidate for next year's presidential election promised to make France Europe's strongest power and stop "uncontrolled immigration" in her first major campaign speech on Saturday.

Les Republicains (LR) right-wing party's candidate for the 2022 presidential election Valerie Pecresse delivers a speech during a meeting
Les Republicains (LR) right-wing party's candidate for the 2022 presidential election Valerie Pecresse delivers a speech during a meeting following a closed-door session with party officials in Paris, on December 11th, 2021. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

Valerie Pecresse, a former chief of the Paris region, was elected as The Republicans’ first female presidential candidate on December 4th to challenge President Emmanuel Macron in April 2022.

The 54-year-old slammed Macron’s record and said she aimed to “renew France in five years and make it Europe’s foremost power in 10 years’ time”, pledging to be a “war leader each time France is threatened”.

Pecresse said she would “stop uncontrolled immigration, break the ghettoes and restore security” in France, which has suffered several terrorist attacks in recent years partly perpetrated by French citizens from ethnic minorities.

She also set a hard stance against “statue topplers” and the “public prosecutors of our past” after racial justice protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement targeted memorials connected with France’s colonial history.

But Pecresse attacked far-right presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, referring to “extremism that feeds off our problems without wanting or being able to resolve them”.

READ ALSO: Zemmour rally near Paris marred as anti-racism activists attacked during protest

“A few weeks ago, they said we were buried, divided, lost. But we’re back, in battle order, for victory,” she added.

“My programme is radical because the situation demands it.”

Pecresse also pledged to loosen French labour laws, raise the retirement age to 65 and ease inheritance tax.

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Member comments

  1. So, a longer working week and a shorter retirement . I suppose that’s because she doesn’t want any more immigrant workers. Maybe she needs to re-think some of these policies.

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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