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’.
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.
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.
Casual Macron engaging in weekend phone diplomacy complete with hoodie and light stubble . . .
Photo from official photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière https://t.co/wsYyIDUMMp pic.twitter.com/m8Lk2uUHvr
— Emma Pearson (@LocalFR_Emma) March 14, 2022
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.
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.
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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.