Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will address the French parliaments via videolink this afternoon. The parliamentary session is actually finished – because of the election – but it is expected that most MPs will be there, including Marine Le Pen who has backpedalled after previously saying she wouldn’t bother to attend because she has “no particular admiration” for Zelensky.
Although French president Emmanuel Macron speaks regularly with Zelensky and has been a key part of the search for a diplomatic solution, the Ukrainian leader is expected to push for more help including a no-fly zone over the Ukrainian skies to help deal with the Russian invasion.
Zelensky’s wife Olena Zelenska on Tuesday gave an exclusive interview to Le Parisien newspaper thanking international first ladies, and in particular Brigitte Macron, for their help in evacuating the children of Ukraine. A group of young cancer sufferers landed at Orly airport on Tuesday, and were greeted by Brigitte and health minister Olivier Véran.
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Extreme right candidate Eric Zemmour formally unveils his campaign manifesto today, although he has already spelled out much of his programme, including creating a Ministry of Repatriation to deport “unwanted foreigners”.
His polling numbers appear to be stalling, partly due to his previous enthusiastic support for Vladimir Putin.
The below cartoon from Le Canard Enchaîné makes a play on the Russian invasion forces’ use of the ‘Z’ logo, which is also the nickname of Zemmour. Advances of both Russian invaders in Ukraine and Zemmour’s presidential campaign appear to be stalling.
— Nicolas Berrod (@nicolasberrod) March 22, 2022
Emmanuel Macron took part in a phone-in on Tuesday with listeners of France Bleu radio station. Last time he took part in a Q&A like this was an event with Le Parisien when he created headlines around the world by saying that he wanted to emmerder (piss off) the unvaccinated.
There were fewer fireworks this time, with Macron staying on-message – calling for calm in Corsica, defending his plan to raise the retirement age to 65 and pledging to hire more health workers.
The latest edition of The Local France’s politics podcast, Talking France, is out. In this episode Ben McPartland is joined by Local France editor Emma Pearson, columnist John Lichfield and Macron biographer Adam Plowright to talk about abstention, military power, why Macron faces such visceral hatred and which candidate would make the best drinking companion.
Find the podcast on Apple or Spotify, on our podcast page or listen on the link below.
The candidates who are MPs – including Fabien Roussel, Marine Le Pen and Jean Lassalle will be in parliament listening to Zelensky’s address. Anne Hidalgo is taking part in a question and answer session with the disability charity and Eric Zemmour officially launches his manifesto.
Emmanuel Macron remains in Paris where he is presiding over a cabinet meeting in the morning, but there is a rally in support of his candidature in Nice this evening, attended by Nice mayor (and former Les Républicains member) Christian Estrosi, former PM Edouard Philippe, culture minister Roselyn Bachelot, health minister Olivier Véran and LREM parliamentary party leader Christophe Castaner.