Macron: Expert looks at reaction to pandemic response
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President Macron is coming under increasing pressure after placing the country back into a four-week national lockdown as Covid cases skyrocket throughout France. The French leader has also been brutally attacked over the country’s painfully slow rollout of Covid vaccines, mirroring the European Union’s disastrous struggles with its own programme. But Mr Macron is also facing an increasing threat from Ms Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right Rassemblement National party, who has seen her popularity jump in recent polls as she bids to become the country’s first far-right leader since World War 2.
Now the opposition leader has ramped up the pressure on the President, launching a scathing attack against a number of his policies just over a year before the crunch elections in France.
She told Mardi Politique in France: “I have the possibility to win the presidential election in 2022 to change a policy that makes millions of French people suffer.
“It’s not just me. We all have that possibility.
“Millions of French people want to turn the page and forget the policies of Emmanuel Macron.
“This is not the time of useless criticism. This is the time of unity and action. I think the concepts of right and left are outdated.
“I want a Government of national unity. I’m not talking about a coalition like the one in Germany.
“The idea is to choose the best people no matter what party they come from. However, this unity can’t damage the coherence of my political program.”
Ms Le Pen also lashed out at Mr Macron over the disastrous vaccine rollout in France, labelling the statistic that only five percent of the population have had two doses as “pitiful”.
She has demanded answers from the Government, warning the “inability to communicate what’s going on is starting to become unbearable”.
The opposition leader said: “It’s good to have vaccine centres, but you need vaccines!
“The result today is pitiful. Only five percent of the population has received two doses of the vaccine. The government should give us answers.
“The inability to communicate what’s going on is starting to become unbearable. Now more than ever.
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“Regarding the Sputnik vaccine, I can’t understand ideological obstacles in a time like this.
“The government considers that geopolitical strategies are more important than the health of the French.”
Ms Le Pen also took a huge swipe at Mr Macron over his Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the country’s police of focusing too much on punishing people breaking Covid rules instead of fighting “crime and violence”.
She also claimed France has “failed to put in place a successful strategy, from masks and tests to vaccines”, again attacking Mr Macron for apparently blaming the French people for not following the current measures.
The Rassemblement National party leader said: “We would like there to be as much energy in pursuing burglars, thieves, rapists, murderers, as there is in hunting down people who don’t cover their noses with the mask!
“I support the use of masks, since the beginning and even when there were no masks available because the government claimed they were not necessary, but I can’t believe the only mission of police now is to make people respect barrier measures.
“Let’s not forget what’s really essential and important: fighting crime and violence.”
She added: “For a year, Macron has made the French feel guilty and he refuses to admit that his measures are either ineffective or arrive too late.
“France has failed to put in place a successful strategy, from masks and tests to vaccines.
“The latest proof of this was Macron on national TV saying that it was our fault, that we don’t respect the measures, when the big majority of people do, but I didn’t hear any ‘mea culpa’ in his speech.
“That’s not how a President should act. He should assume his responsibilities.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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