PARIS – French Conservative presidential candidate Valerie Pecresse said on Thursday said she had tested positive for COVID-19 and would have to campaign remotely, a blow to her already faltering campaign with less than three weeks to go until the election.
Pecresse, the candidate for the centre-right Les Republicains, has been struggling to gain traction with voters amid a fragmented right, and opinion polls show she is unlikely to make it beyond the first round of voting on April 10.
Pecresse, the mayor of the greater Paris region, said in a tweet that she would self-isolate and continue to campaign “at a distance”, in accordance with health regulations.
Her positive test comes as coronavirus cases surge back in France after the government lifted most restrictions. The country reported 145,560 new infections on Wednesday, and cases increased roughly a third week-on-week.
Recent opinion polls show Pecresse with 12% or less support, leaving her in fourth or fifth position and seemingly out of contention for a place in the April 24 runoff vote.
Pecresse’s opponents say her proposed policies are too similar to those of President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist whose policymaking has drifted right throughout his five-year term and who is seeking re-election.
Macron and Marine Le Pen, the head of the far-right Rassemblement National, are expected to top the first round. Voter surveys show Macron beating any one of his would-be challengers in the second round.