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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 Thursday.

Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election
Emmanuel Macron will unveil his election manifesto today. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

Macron event

If you have always dreamed of seeing Emmanuel Macron in the flesh, registration is now open for this first big campaign event. Given the ‘limited’ campaign that he is running, it could be the only open-registration event of the 2022 election. Full details here.

He will unveil his manifesto at 3pm today in a Q&A event with journalists in the Paris suburb of Aubervillers.

Enfariné

Valérie Pécresse on Thursday was the victim of a campaign incident in which pink powder was thrown over her as she finished a speech to the association of small businesses.

The French language has a word – enfariné – to describe having flour (farine) thrown over you. As this powder was pink, we’re not sure that it strictly qualifies as enfariné, but it’s the second throwing incident of the campaign so far after Eric Zemmour had an egg thrown at him as he visited the south-west town of Moissac. 

Book 

Speaking of Pécresse, her book is out today. Le temps est venu (the time has come) lays out her vision to “repair . . . restore France to face its destiny”. As far as we know there are no plot twists or sex scenes.

Immigration

In possibly bad news for Eric Zemmour (whose answer to everything is cutting immigration) a new poll commissioned by France Télévisions shows that 7 in 10 French people do not think that immigration is the main cause of the country’s problems.

Sound of silence

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has not yet endorsed Pécresse, the candidate of his former party, and his silence is beginning to set tongues wagging, with speculation that he will instead endorse Emmanuel Macron. 

The Castex plan

Prime minister Jean Castex on Wednesday unveiled the government’s plan for protecting French consumers and businesses from the effects of price rises – here’s what it involves.

Candidates’ trips

Emmanuel Macron has already announced that he will be in the south-west town of Pau on Friday, where he will meet with readers of local newspapers Sud-Ouest and La République des Pyrénées.

On Thursday Jean-Luc Mélenchon lays out his “plan of action’ – while the other candidates are contenting themselves with manifestos of the policies they will enact if elected, Mélenchon is laying out a plan to create a whole new system of government in France – a 6th Republic.  

Meanwhile Nathalie Arthauld is in Toulouse, Valérie Pécresse in Nimes and Yannick Jadot at Université Paris-Dauphine.

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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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