Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa slammed French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in a joint comment for Le Monde on Thursday.
Leaders accused Le Pen of conspiring with anti-democracy forces and said they “hope” voters would choose incumbent President Emmanuel Macron’s vision for France.
“For us, the second round of the French presidential election is not an election like the others,” says Scholz. Sánchez and Costa wrote. “It’s a choice between a democratic candidate who believes France is stronger in a powerful and autonomous European Union (EU) and a far-right candidate who openly sides with those attacking our freedom and our democracy. “
“We need … a France that defends justice and is happy to oppose autocrats [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” they added, arguing that they “hope” voters choose this vision for France.
The statement comes ahead of Sunday’s crucial second round of France’s presidential election, which will see far-right candidate Le Pen face Macron for the second time. It also follows Wednesday’s much-anticipated debate between the two candidates, in which voters say the incumbent was more persuasive a quick poll published Thursday.
The incumbent president is currently the clear favorite among pollsters, with Macron trailing by 10 points at 55 percent and Le Pen at 45 percent.
“This kind of moral education tends to have a counterproductive effect on voters, be they athletes, multimillionaire artists or foreign heads of state,” said Philippe Vardon, regional councilor of the National Rally and member of the party’s national committee. “They all know equally little about the real life of the French.
“Other European governments support us and would be delighted if Marine Le Pen won and tackled the ‘Europe of Nations’ project,” he added.
scholz, Praising France’s role as European leader, Sánchez and Costa argued that the country is strongest when working within the EU, which is a rare intervention by foreign leaders in national elections.
Although Le Pen has withdrawn her more radical proposals to exit the euro and leave the EU, much of her program – including drastic changes to the single market – is largely incompatible with the bloc as it currently stands, experts say.
National leaders also criticized Brexit, arguing that the UK’s attempt to “take back control” only “disrupted Britain’s transport and supply chains, caused a collapse in its foreign trade and [created] Inflation rates generally higher than in the Eurozone.”
The British Foreign Office did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.
FRANCE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION POLL
For more survey data from across Europe, see POLITICS poll of polls.
https://www.politico.eu/article/german-spanish-portuguese-leader-slam-marine-le-pen-france-election-democracy/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication German, Spanish and Portuguese leaders slam Marine Le Pen, 'hoping' French will elect 'democratic' candidate - POLITICO