Macron numbers surge following stances on Ukraine
France's President Emmanuel Macron's popularity increases ahead of the presidential election amid the ongoing tensions in Ukraine over Russia's special military operation.
A new poll Friday showed an increase in support for French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of presidential elections next month, a day after he confirmed he was running for a second term.
The survey measuring voting intentions from the BVA polling group found that Macron had gained a massive five points in the last fortnight ahead of the first round of voting on April 10, with voters seemingly impressed by his stances on the developments in Ukraine.
The survey suggested Macron would finish first with 29% in the first round and would then triumph in a second run-off vote irrespective of his opponent, with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen seen as his closest challenger.
"A term for nothing"
Macron confirmed his plans to seek a second term on Thursday evening in a low-key letter addressed to voters, claiming he was seeking their "trust" for another five years "to defend our values that are threatened by the disruptions of the world."
He acknowledged that the election campaign would be overshadowed by Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, which has seen him taking a role in Western sanctions on Moscow.
"Of course, I will not be able to campaign as I would have liked because of the context," the French president noted.
Following Macron's declaration, far-right candidate Eric Zemmour accused him of serving "a term for nothing," adding that "our country has become unlivable and you have become the cause."
Macron focused on international issues
In the same context, a poll on Thursday by the Kantar group showed the proportion of voters expressing confidence in Macron had risen five points to 45%, its highest level since August 2017.
Antoine Bristielle, a public opinion expert at the Jean-Jaures Foundation think-tank, said the situation in Ukraine meant the campaign was focused on "international issues which are an area of strength for Emmanuel Macron."
"It's better for him than social issues or questions around household income," he indicated.
However, observers are concerned that Macron's involvement in Ukraine will eclipse discussion of domestic issues, which voters are known to be concerned about, such as crime, unemployment, or immigration.
Little is known about the 44-year-old head of state's program for the next five years, but he promised more tax cuts in his declaration letter, changes to the education system, and a further strengthening of the European Union.
"The main risk for Macron is being re-elected relatively easily but without a proper campaign," Bristielle concluded.