Macron announces his bid for re-election as French president

Emmanuel Macron has formally confirmed that he will run for re-election in a letter published in the French regional press, just 24 hours before the deadline for candidates to declare for the April elections.

Macron announces his bid for re-election as French president
French president Emmanuel Macron addressing the nation on the subject of the war in Ukraine. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

The letter will be published in the French regional press on Friday, but was released online on Thursday evening.

The announcement comes with very little surprise as it had always been widely assumed that Macron would run in the April presidential election, but he had yet to formally declare his candidacy.

In the letter he describes himself as “a candidate to invent, with you, a unique French and European response to the challenges of the century. I am a candidate to defend our values that the world’s disruptions threaten. I am a candidate to continue to prepare the future of our children and our grandchildren.” 

Acknowledging the huge challenges that face France and the world as the result of a two-year pandemic followed by war, Macron lays out his priorities for the next five years, including investing in innovation to break the reliance on fossil fuels, tackling inequalities to ensure that all children have the same opportunities and investing in healthcare and care for the elderly.

He concludes: “Of course, I will not be able to campaign as I would have liked because of the context. But with clarity and commitment I will explain our project, our will to continue to move our country forward with each of you.”

Candidates have until 6pm on Friday, March 4th, to announce that they are running and on Monday at noon the Constitutional Council will publish the full list of candidates.

As well as formally declaring their intentions, being over the age of 18 and being a French citizen, candidates also need 500 signatures of support from elected representatives.

These signatures, known as parrainages, can come from any elected representative, from village mayors to MPs and Senators.

French elections: What is parrainage?

Most of the candidates who are polling over 5 percent have already secured the required 500, although the far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, and the far-left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has been struggling and only cleared the bar earlier this week.

Once the candidates are formally declared on Monday, there is five weeks until the first round of voting on April 10th. If no candidate gets above 50 percent of the vote in the first round, a second round will be held on April 24th.

The election campaigns are likely to be overshadowed by the war in Ukraine – Macron has already cancelled a rally planned for Monday in Marseille – but government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Thursday assured journalists that televised election debates will go ahead.

Macron is hosting European leaders at Versailles next week for a two-day defence and energy summit in response to the international crisis provoked by Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Russia.

Polls have consistently shown Macron as the favourite to win in April, and his approval rating has climbed this week.

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Macron: It will take decades for Ukraine to join EU

France's President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday it would take "decades" for a candidate like Ukraine to join the EU - and called instead for a new European body to allow co-operation on issues like security and movement of people.

Macron: It will take decades for Ukraine to join EU

“Even if we gave them candidate status tomorrow,” he said of Ukraine, “we all know perfectly well that the process of allowing them to join would take several years, in truth doubtless several decades.”

But, noting the urgency of giving Ukraine and other EU hopefuls like Moldova and Georgia a place in the heart of Europe, he called for the creation of a “European political community”.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February, in part to thwart Kyiv’s tilt towards integration with the EU and NATO, and Georgia and Moldova are also partly occupied by Moscow’s troops.

Just ahead of Macron’s speech, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted that the EU executive would give its “opinion” on Ukraine’s membership bid in June.   

But Macron, in a speech endorsing calls for a treaty change to further  strengthen the EU’s federal integration, said the bloc, “given its level of integration and ambition” could not be Europe’s only organising body.

“It is our historic obligation … to create what I would describe before you today as a European political community,” he said.

“This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations … to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation in energy, transport, investment, infrastructure, the movement of people.”