The leaders of Germany, Spain, and Portugal have named the incumbent French president Emmanuel Macron as their preferred candidate at the upcoming second round of the election, warning the voters against supporting National Rally’s leader, Marine Le Pen.
In a surprising move on Thursday, three days before the vote in France and amid Russia’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa published a joint column in the Le Monde and El Pais newspapers.
After claiming in the beginning of the article that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “aggression” targets not only Ukraine but also the values which France and its European partners defend, the authors of the article came to their main point.
According to Scholz, Sanchez, and Costa, “the populists and the extreme right” in their countries “Vladimir Putin is now an idealist and political leader, echoing his nationalist calls.” This should not be forgotten, no matter how much such politicians “They are trying to disengage themselves from Russia’s aggressor.” the leaders emphasized, possibly referring to Le Pen’s numerous denials of sympathies for the Kremlin.
Therefore, the authors argue, the second round of the French election is not “An election just like all the other elections,” especially considering “France was a key country of the European project.”
“It is the choice between a Democratic candidate, who believes that France is stronger in a powerful and autonomous European Union (EU), and a far-right candidate, who openly sides with those who attack our freedom and our democracy…” they said.
Describing the alleged benefits of the “greater European solidarity,” Scholz, Sanchez, and Costa did not miss the chance to criticize supporters of Brexit, who, in their opinion, have only brought about various problems for the UK.
Unity is the only way to maintain prosperity, to “Humanly achieve globalization” and to “International peace and security are our top priorities” the column reads.
“France is our partner in this endeavor.” Scholz, Sanchez, and Costa reveal.
They further specified that they needed France, which “We welcomed exiles fleeing dictatorships like Franco and Salazar” and which “Protects justice from anti-democratic leaders like Putin.”
“What France will win the April 24th polls? The French Republic citizens have the option of choosing.” the leaders of Germany, Spain, and Portugal said.
Scholz, Sanchez, and Costa’s article raised eyebrows in Russia, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova sarcastically calling the politicians’ initiative “Weekdays in democracy.”
Telegram: Zakharova wrote that she had 2 questions
“Is it legal for a president to endorse the presidential candidate in another country? Isn’t that considered election interference now?” she wrote, apparently referring to the fact that the West has been accusing Moscow of interfering in foreign elections for years now.
Zakharova’s second question relates to an issue that Western countries have long been obsessed with.
“Is there a gender imbalance in elections? It is no longer a significant factor. In developed democracies where real power and not declared rights are at stake, does gender matter?” she wrote.
Recent polls show that Macron does not have the support of his European peers. Opinion Way conducted a survey on Thursday, which included 1334 people. It revealed that 56% were ready to back the current president and 44% are prepared to vote Le Pen.
In the first election round, however, Macron’s lead was not that significant. He got 27.85% on April 10th, and Le Pen just a few percentage points behind at 23.15%.