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EU elections: French candidates enter final stretch of campaign

A man walks past a row of campaign boards for the upcoming European election in Versailles west of Paris, Friday, May 31, 2024.
A man walks past a row of campaign boards for the upcoming European election in Versailles west of Paris, Friday, May 31, 2024. Copyright Michel Euler/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Michel Euler/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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The campaign for the European elections is drawing to a close in France. Voting takes place on 9 June, with the official campaign closing on Friday, 7 June, providing an opportunity for the candidates to make their last moves.

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As the European election campaign in France enters its final stretch, the candidates are intensifying their efforts, aimed at undecided and younger voters. 

Jordan Bardella, the candidate for the far-right National Rally party, held his last public meeting in Paris on Sunday.

Leading the polls with 32% of voting intentions, he called on electors to vote against French president Emmanuel Macron’s party Renaissance.

"Next Sunday, to abstain is to vote for Macron. Next Sunday, voting for other [smaller] parties will only strengthen Macron," he said in front of a cheering crowd of 5000 people.

French PM steps up campaign for his candidate Hayer

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal called on voters to fight against the rise of the far-right during a meeting near Paris on Saturday held by Valérie Hayer, the EU election candidate for Macron’s party.

"Europe could die because the far-right is gaining power across the continent. Europe will die if we do nothing if we stay at home like passive spectators," the minister insisted.

Valérie Hayer is currently struggling in the polls -- 15 points behind Bardella's National Rally.

Left calls on younger voters

On the left, calls for mobilisation also multiplied this weekend. 

Neck and neck with Macron’s party in the polls, Socialist candidate Raphael Glucksmann continued his campaign in the southern city of Marseille on Saturday, promising to be "the big and beautiful surprise" of these elections.

He called on young and absentee voters to support his campaign. 

"I call upon the young people of France: I see the risk of abstention, don't let anyone decide your future for you," he said, hoping to grab second place by overtaking Valérie Hayer's party.

A similar call to the youth was made by left-wing candidate Manon Aubry, representing La France Insoumise party in the southwestern city of Toulouse in front of 3,000 people, according to the organisers. 

"We are calling out to them today. The young people are full of hope, but also full of concern. Young people who are mobilising for the climate, for Gaza, for their rights," Aubry said.

The MEP is far behind Socialist Raphaël Glucksmann at 8.5% of voting intentions.

The head of the Green Party Marie Toussaint also held a meeting near Paris on Sunday, as the MEP’s campaign is dangerously slipping below the threshold of 5% of voting intentions necessary to send politicians to Parliament.

The official campaign period will end on Friday. Over the weekend, nearly 50 million French voters will choose 81 MEPs to represent them in the European Parliament. 

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