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Macron pledges ‘new way of doing things’ on campaign trail

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LE HAVRE, FRANCE - APRIL 14: French President and liberal party La Republique en Marche (LREM) candidate for re-election Emmanuel Macron leaves the Andre-Malraux Art Museum, during a campaign visit in Le Havre, France on April 14, 2022 ( Loic BARATOUX - Anadolu Agency )
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Apr 19, 2022 - 04:00 AM

PARIS (AA) – French President Emmanuel Macron continued his campaign for the presidency Monday with both in-person appearances and those on television as he faces a stiff second-round runoff with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen on April 24.

Macron was the guest of the program C a vous, on the France5 television channel Monday evening, where he established clear intentions for change were he to be elected for the next five years.

“I learned I need to consult more,” said the incumbent when asked what that change would look like.

As of Monday, Macron was leading in the polls by 12%, according to polling by Ipsos-Sopra Steria for French news outlet franceinfo. It is a lead he has maintained by one or two points over the past week since first-round voting on April 10, when he and Le Pen emerged from a field of a dozen candidates.

But on C a vous, Macron pledged to viewers and voters that he would not be one to “do the same thing” in his next five years, vowing to make alterations if re-elected to the Elysee and use a more involved approach.

The president’s first term was marked by a string of crises, including the almost year-long Yellow Vest strikes protesting fuel prices and the struggle of the lower classes, followed by months of transit strikes, which preceded the COVID pandemic, and ending with the war in Ukraine on the edge of Europe.

When asked about pension reform — a huge thorn in the side for voters and one of the motivations for strikes at the end of 2019 — Macron said it will be one of the top agenda items for his administration as soon as they are re-installed.

On the matter of abstention, Macron was very insistent on voters going to the polls and not wasting their vote.

“There is something that is taking hold in our democracy which is unhealthy, which is to say, ‘If they are not exactly my ideas perfectly, it is not worth anything.’ We have to get out of this fantasy of purity,” he said.

Le Pen used the start of the week to campaign vigorously, appearing in Calvados on Monday to pose for pictures with enthusiastic voters and press her points.

The two candidates will meet head-to-head in a televised debate on Wednesday evening.

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