Two French politicians began their presidential campaigns on Sunday, wanting to become the first woman to rule France in next year’s election.
The nominations of the far-right Marine Le Pen and the Socialist Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, were widely expected, and they add to the growing list of rivals for centrist leader Emmanuel Macron. This includes battles between several potential candidates on the right – including another politician: Valerie Begres – and the Greens.
Hidalgo, 62, has been the mayor of the French capital since 2014, most favored in winning the Socialist Party nomination. He began his candidacy in the northwestern city of Rouen.
“I want all the children of France to have the same opportunities I had,” he called to his roots. Hidalgo was the daughter of Spanish immigrants who left their country in search of independence under the rule of dictator Francisco Franco.
Le Pen, 53, leader of the National Committee Party, began his campaign in the southern city of Fruges, promising to defend French “independence”. Reiterating the far-right message that critics claim to have insulted Muslim communities, Le Pen vowed to be tough on “the Taliban areas of France.” Although he had already announced his candidacy, on Sunday he appointed 26-year-old Jordan Bertella as the party’s executive chairman to allow his campaign to go full swing.
Le Pen is remaking his film for this election. She left her characteristic dark blue shelves. Now he will wear light blue for the campaign, “to show our vision, the less partisan, the more (reach) the higher,” said Philip Olivier, Le Pen’s special adviser, quoted in the conservative daily Le Figaro.
Macron, 43, has not announced his intention to run for re-election, but he is expected to do so. Starting a candidacy in France is a necessary procedure for every presidential election.
The fight between Le Pen and Macron is expected to reduce votes, as happened in the last French presidential election in 2017.