Macron French election hopes rocked as Le Pen comes out on top in 20,000 areas

Nigel Farage reveals how Le Pen can beat Macron

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The National Rally far-right leader is coming out on top of the French President in nearly 20,000 municipalities – more than in 2017. Since then, the areas where French people most support Ms Le Pen have not changed. The presidential candidate is most favoured in a large part of northern France, in the Hauts-de-France, in the Grand Est and in Burgundy.

Ms Le Pen is also gaining ground in Corsica, along the Mediterranean and particularly in the Var where almost the entire department is in her favour (30.6 percent).

Toulon is also one of the few large cities where Marine Le Pen is in the lead.

She is also advancing in the Centre region, on the Atlantic coast and in Brittany where she recorded a strong increase in the number of ballots in her favour – up to more than 20 percent in places compared to 2017.

Faced with problems of insecurity and immigration, Mayotte largely put Marine Le Pen in the lead (43 percent), standing out among the other overseas territories won by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

If Marine Le Pen is breaking through in the countryside, it is more difficult in the big cities, where Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon share the cake in most cases.

However, she is well ahead in Calais (39.6 percent), Dunkirk (Nord, 30.2 percent) and Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales, 27.4 percent).

It is perhaps in these large cities that Marine Le Pen will be able to get votes, logically being able to count on those of Eric Zemmour.

The National Rally leader said on Tuesday that Emmanuel Macron was softening his pension reform proposals to seduce left-wing voters.

The incumbent leader on Monday campaigned in France’s former industrial heartland, saying he was prepared to readjust his planned pension reform, which is at the core of his programme for re-election.

He said: “I am ready to change the timeline and say we don’t necessarily have to do a reform by 2030 if I feel that people are too anxious.”

He was also prepared, he said, to “open the door” on pushing the country’s retirement age from 62 at the moment to 64, rather than 65, his initial proposal.

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But Ms Le Pen rebuked: “It’s a manoeuvre by Emmanuel Macron to try to win over, or at least to mitigate the opposition of the left-leaning voters.

“There is nothing to expect here from Emmanuel Macron. He will go all the way to the end with obsession, because it’s a reality that the minimum (retirement) age of 65 is his obsession.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, an ally of Mr Macron, told broadcaster CNews that Macron had not changed his plans on the pensions reform and is still “totally determined” to carry out the reform.

He said: “We will stick to (the minimum age of) 65, but there will be options for discussing detail.”

Manuel Bompard, the head of the campaign of far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came in third in the first round, said he did not agree with Mr Macron’s or Ms Le Pen’s retirement proposals.

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“I tell Macron this: If he really wants to appeal to our voters…he has to make a clear commitment,” he said.

Speaking on Public Senat television, Bompard pointed to the possibility mentioned by Mr Macron of carrying out a national referendum on the minimum pension age.

An Ipsos-Sopra Steria poll cited by Public Senat said 23 percent of Melenchon voters would now support Macron, 15 percent Le Pen and a further 62 percent did not take a position.

Macron and Le Pen traded blows on Monday as they sought to appeal to left-leaning voters who now face the tough decision whether to give their vote to a far-right populist or to a liberal many opponents branded a “president of the rich”.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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