They make up just 1.5% of France’s active population, but they are traditionally a key constituency: Presidential candidates seek support from farmers on Wednesday, at a time when the gap between Emmanuel Macron and his pursuers is narrowing.
Eleven days before the first round, Valerie Pecresse (LR), Marine Le Pen (RN), Eric Zemmour (Reconquest), communist Fabien Roussel and rebel Jean Lassalle traveled to Besançon for this meeting, which brought together most of the farmers. – from 900 to 1000 – and this happens a month after the agricultural exhibition.
Others, especially those on the left, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), Anne Hidalgo (PS) or Yannick Jadot (EELV), did not succumb, they were also heavily booed when the announcer announced that they had declined the invitation.
From short circuits to exiting free trade agreements, through the complete abolition of pesticides, the 12 candidates for the Élysée are full of ideas to lend a helping hand to agriculture hit by soaring production and material costs. war in Ukraine.
Moreover, the profession is experiencing a slow decline. According to preliminary results from the 2020 agricultural census, there are 389,000 farms in metropolitan France, 100,000 fewer than in 2010 and four times fewer than in 1970.
According to INSEE, almost one in five agricultural households lives below the poverty line (18% versus 15% of the French population).
– “Sovereignty” –
“Leading the (environmental) transition is necessary, but this should not make us lose sight of our educational mission,” said Emmanuel Macron. “We have been against agriculture and ecology for a long time, but I believe in this reconciliation of agendas,” he added, saying he wants to “strengthen what we have implemented.”
The presidential candidate, accepted on Wednesday by the Defense Council and then by the Council of Ministers – ahead of a new campaign trip Thursday to the Charente-Maritime – addressed the meeting via videoconference in a message recorded Tuesday at his campaign headquarters.
For her part, National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen, who came second in voting intent polls in the first round behind Mr Macron, said: “My project is the sovereignty of our country.”
The candidate opposed the “nonsense of environmentalists” or even the European Commission and the World Trade Organization (WTO), “which prevent any effective response to the current crisis.”
She also denounced the farmers’ “intolerable aggression and humiliation” but was booed when she said she wanted to create status for the animals.
– “Franchouillard” –
Playing on the absence of his rivals on the left, which he did not fail to emphasize, the communist Fabien Roussel applauded enthusiastically, showing himself at ease, joking and causing laughter from the audience, traditionally rather on the right. Chess board.
“He’s great!” exclaimed the farmer, applauding when the Communist spoke of nationalizing the bank to help young farmers get loans to pay off their debt.
“Eating good French-grown meat is necessary and important. We have to protect French products, the quality of French products, this should not be a franchise,” Mr. Roussel said again. “I have great respect for those who do not want to eat meat, but let them not impose their model of society.”
According to FNSEA president Christiane Lambert, environmentalist candidate Yannick Jadot would have accepted the invitation before he changed his mind. On Wednesday, he traveled to Marny-sur-Matz (Oise) on the theme of the countryside, whose mayors have been in high demand by the candidates, to get 500 sponsors and want their demands to be heard in the campaign.
Outgoing President Emmanuel Macron garnered 30% of the farmers’ vote at this stage, followed by Valerie Pecresse (13%), Eric Zemmour (12%) and Marine Le Pen, according to an Ifop poll commissioned by the union and released on Tuesday. (eleven%).
For its part, La France insoumise, whose candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is best positioned on the left, is trying to mobilize voters by organizing a rally on the theme of “union of workers’ quarters” in Saint-Denis, in the suburbs of Paris.
In the final straight of the election campaign, the poll gap between Emmanuel Macron and his immediate pursuers is narrowing, even if he is still in the lead.
According to an Opinionway poll by Les Echos and Radio Classique on Wednesday, the president has about 28% of the vote, while Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have 20% and 15%, respectively.
In the second round, Emmanuel Macron’s potential opponents are also gaining strength, even if they are still losing.