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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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

Each weekday, our early morning roundup 'Today in France' takes a look at the latest news, events and gossip from the campaign trail - here's what is happening on Tuesday.

Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election
Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron arrive for a TV debate on the Ukraine war. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

War footing

Eight of the 12 presidential candidates took part in a TV interview on the subject of the Ukraine war, governed by broadcasting rules that offer time to candidates based on their poll ratings.

It was not a debate, but each candidate was given a minute to outline their profession de foi (profession of faith, or rather what is most important to them).

Emmanuel Macron praised his handling of the varies crises of the past five years, Marine Le Pen called for greater protection from spiralling living costs, Valérie Pécresse said France had been weakened on the international stage, Anne Hidalgo called for solidarity in the face of a threat from a dictator. Eric Zemmour said it was all about immigration, once again referencing the racist conspiracy theory of the ‘great replacement’.

Manifesto time

French candidates often wait until the campaign is underway before unveiling their full manifesto. On Monday we had Pécresse with her Le courage de faire (the courage to do) manifesto and on Thursday we will have Macron’s.

His manifesto launch will be at Docks d’Aubervillers, an event space in converted warehouses in the north Paris suburb. He will answer questions on this programme for “three or four hours” according to his team.

Casual wear

This photo of Macron from his official photographer Soazig de la Moissionnière has been causing a bit of a stir. Taken on Sunday as he engaged in another round of phone diplomacy, it was quite a sartorial change from the president, who is very rarely photographed in anything other than a dark suit and white shirt.

The hoodie-and-stubble combo lead some readers to suggest that he was trying to emulate Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky.

To give some context, we should point out that this was from the Instagram account of his official photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière – check her out here – who since the campaign started has been posting 10 photos a day, showing life on the campaign trail with Macron. Although the suit is very much Macron’s trademark, those who know him say that off duty he is pretty casual and has always been partial to a hoodie.

Fundraising

While her husband has been hitting the phones, Brigitte Macron has been involved in fundraising for the children of Ukraine, earning a warm message of thanks from Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Olena Zelenska (@olenazelenska_official)

Candidates trips

Eric Zemmour is beginning his ‘Tour de France’ of campaign events together with his most high-profile political defector – Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine Le Pen. The association of French mayors has organised an event which Fabien Roussel, Jean Lassalle, Marine Le Pen, Philippe Poutou, Anne Hidalgo, Nathalie Arthaud, Valérie Pécresse, Yannick Jadot, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Eric Zemmour will all take part in.

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POLITICS

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.

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