Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election

The 2022 French presidential election campaign is now officially underway. Each weekday our new early morning roundup 'Today in France' takes a look at the latest news, events and gossip from the campaign trail.

Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election
Emmanuel Macron has proposed scrapping the TV licence. Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

TV times

Emmanuel Macron has held his first campaign event and outlined what he says will be the four ‘axes’ of his campaign –  le pacte européen (the European pact – defending the EU), le pacte entre les générations (pact between the generations –  education, health, pensions), le pacte productif (the production pact – employment and industry) and le pacte républicain (the republican pact – immigration, laïcité, security and integration) 

But in among the big ideas, the one that has undoubtedly caught the attention is his pledge to abolish the TV licence.


Talking of TV, Macron has also ruled out taking part in a TV debate with all 11 of the other candidates, saying he will only do a televised debate if (when?) he gets through to the second round.

In 2017 his second round head-to-head debate with Marine Le Pen proved something of a decisive moment as Le Pen gave a disastrous performance, appearing vague and unable to elaborate her own policies. It was also where Macron came out with his now-famous phrase poudre de perlimpinpin

The Castex plan

While Macron is on the campaign trail, prime minister Jean Castex is back in his office in Matignon, meeting industry representatives and unions as he prepares the plan – announced by Macron in his TV appearance last week – to protect French people from the effects of price rises in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The plan will apparently be presented ‘mid March’.

Runners and riders

Monday afternoon saw the official publication of the list of candidates who have qualified to get on the ballot paper – 11 of whom we already knew had qualified, with Troksyist candidate Philippe Poutou gathering his final signatures of support just in time.

As the below image shows, we have 4 women, 8 men and 0 people of colour. And in an extremely niche reference for fans of left-wing British comedians, has anyone seen Communist candidate Fabien Roussel in the same room as Stewart Lee?

Top, left to right: Nathalie Arthaud of Lutte ouvriere, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan of Debout la France, Anne Hidalgo of Parti Socialiste, Yannick Jadot of Europe Ecology – Les Verts; (middle, L-R) Jean Lassalle of Resistons, Marine Le Pen of Rassemblement National, Emmanuel Macron of La Republique en Marche, Jean-Luc Melenchon of La France Insoumise.
(bottom, L-R) Valerie Pecresse of Les Republicains, Philippe Poutou of Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, Fabien Roussel of the French Communist Party, Eric Zemmour of Reconquete. (Photo by Joël SAGET and Eric Feferberg / AFP)

If you’re unsure how to pronounce any of the names, check out this handy video of Laurent Fabius, head of the Constitutional Council, reading the list out loud (from 1.40). 


If you’re interested in French politics, don’t forget to check out The Local’s French election podcast, Talking France. It’s out on Tuesday afternoon on our podcast page here, or on Spotify and Apple. 

Intimate photos

We mentioned yesterday Emmanuel Macron’s official photographer, the very talented Soazig de La Moissonnière, whose Instagram account provides a fascinating glimpse of life in the Elysée.

Our favourite is this candid snap of Brigitte Macron using the President of the Republic as an arm rest while she changes her shoes – check out his eyebrows . . .  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ©Soazig de la Moissonnière (@soazigdelamoissonniere)

New voters

This election has a new tranche of voters – long-term British residents of France who were prompted by Brexit to apply for French citizenship, 16,000 of them according the French national statistics body Insee.

Only French citizens can vote in presidential elections, so these new Frenchmen and Frenchwomen will be voting for the first time – we spoke to some of them about their feelings ahead of polling day.

Reader question: Could the French presidential election be postponed because of the Ukraine war?

Candidates outings

On Tuesday – International Women’s Day – Macron will be presiding over a presentation of the newly created Marianne awards for individuals who have done extraordinary work on defending human rights. A phalanx of ministers will accompany him – foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, interior minister Gérald Darmanin, citizenship minister Marlène Schiappa and equality minister Elisabeth Moreno.

Green candidate Yannick Jadot will take part in a demonstration for International Women’s Day, while Eric Zemmour is holding a Femmes Avec Zemmour campaign event (given his frequently-stated views on feminism that probably won’t have quite the same flavour as Jadot’s event).

On TV communist candidate Fabien Roussel is on CNews’ ‘Elysée 2022’ show, while Marine Le Pen is on the ‘Live présidentiel’ organised by website 20 Minutes, TV station TF1 Info with Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. 

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Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.