SAINT-DENIS, France — Emmanuel Macron is wooing disaffected left-wing voters and warning them in opposition to abstaining in Sunday’s presidential election runoff by spelling out simply what a victory for his far-right rival Marine Le Pen would imply for France’s Muslim group.
The president-candidate on Thursday visited Saint-Denis, a multicultural commune in Paris’s northern suburbs, in a last-ditch try and win the help of a various and working-class group that closely backed veteran left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon within the first spherical of the election on April 10.
With far-right candidates Eric Zemmour and Le Pen stigmatizing France’s Muslims, Mélenchon emerged as their defender, denouncing a rampant “anti-Muslim sentiment” within the nation. Forward of Sunday’s runoff vote, a lot of Mélenchon’s supporters are hesitating between staying house, casting a clean poll or voting for Macron.
Assembly native teams within the city sq., Macron sought to warn in opposition to the implications of Le Pen making it to the Elysée.
After promising to do extra for deprived neighborhoods, he slammed Le Pen’s proposal to order social housing for French folks, accusing his opponent of eager to exclude overseas residents from social housing.
For example, he mentioned, “a younger Moroccan girl who has two youngsters, who works on the hospital, who was applauded each night in the course of the pandemic … with Madame Le Pen’s program, we are going to take away her social housing and her household advantages.”
“It’s a program of discord,” Macron informed reporters, accusing Le Pen of “mixing up terrorism, insecurity, immigration, Islam and Islamism on a regular basis.”
This week, Le Pen stressed she was not planning to expel overseas residents as her proposal wouldn’t apply retrospectively.
The president was given a blended reception, with some teams singing anti-Macron chants — borrowed from the Yellow Jackets motion — and others cheering him on.
Within the first spherical of the presidential election, Mélenchon triumphed within the Seine-Saint-Denis division with 49 p.c of the vote, and significantly sturdy backing from Muslim voters. Within the city of Saint-Denis itself he gained greater than 60 p.c.
Conserving Seine-Saint-Denis voters away from Le Pen shouldn’t be that arduous because the multicultural group is the worst viewers for Le Pen’s divisive proposals on immigration and on banning the Muslim headband.
However convincing these voters to again Macron will likely be a harder ask.
Seine-Saint Denis registered the highest abstention rate amongst all French departments within the first spherical. The division’s Socialist president and greater than a dozen mayors have this week urged voters to again Macron on Sunday. “If Marine Le Pen would catastrophically win, the primary victims can be right here,” warned Mathieu Hanotin, the Socialist mayor of Saint-Denis, who accompanied Macron on his walkabout.
Mélenchon has informed his voters to not vote for Le Pen, however has not explicitly known as on them to again Macron.
With Mélenchon now out of the race, Macron is doing what he can to get these votes, and seized on Le Pen’s proposal to ban the Muslim headband in public as an opportunity to distance himself from his rival and seem nearer to French muslims.
Throughout Wednesday’s televised election debate, Macron slammed the concept of banning the hijab in public, warning Le Pen it might “result in civil conflict.” Talking in Saint-Denis, he repeated that no different nation on the planet has such a ban.
“On the headband, what you [Le Pen] are proposing is a treason of French values, of the Republic,” he mentioned.
That marks a delicate change from earlier generally ambiguous feedback on the headband by Macron and his ministers. Though he has persistently opposed banning the hijab in public, he hinted in 2018 that it wasn’t totally in step with French requirements on gender equality.
Whereas some Saint-Denis voters will rally to Macron’s facet, others are nonetheless wavering.
A trainer, who didn’t need to give his title, mentioned that warning a couple of Le Pen presidency “will not be a superb argument” for voting Macron. The president’s “left flip will not be honest and comes too late,” he mentioned, including he would keep house on Sunday after voting for Mélenchon within the first spherical.
Khadijah, a 62-year-old Algerian pensioner carrying a headband, who additionally voted for Mélenchon, mentioned Le Pen’s headband ban “would set off a conflict right here” and she’s going to vote for Macron.
“He’ll win, Inshallah,” she mentioned.