Macron Dubbed Worst President Ever While Campaigning in Northern France
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron topped the first round of the country's presidential election with 27.6% of the vote, ahead of Marine Le Pen's 23.4%, meaning that France will face a runoff on 24 April.
Emmanuel Macron was confronted by an angry passer-by in Chatenois near Strasbourg as the French president travelled to northeastern France to convince voters there to support him in the upcoming second round
of the country's 2022 presidential elections.
The man, whose name was not revealed, told Macron on Tuesday that the way he "has treated people" since the beginning of his presidential mandate is "an outrage".
"You are so arrogant, contemptuous, and cynical […]. You have killed the hospitals. I have never seen a president of the 5th Republic as bad as you", the man said, adding that he "will never vote" for Macron and will cast a ballot in favour of Marine Le Pen in the second round.
Macron responded by thanking the passer-by for "having lots of arguments to put on the table" and signalling a readiness to discuss the matter.
The French president added that although the man says "very aggressive things", he "respects" him.
France Faces Presidential Runoff
The incident came as French voters prepare for a presidential runoff on 24 April in the wake of the first round of the election, which saw Macron obtain 27.6% of the vote versus the 23.4% gained by Marine Le Pen from the right-wing party National Rally on Sunday, according to an Ipsos exit poll.
The left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon came in third in the presidential race, which includes a total of 12 candidates from a host of parties. Macron, for his part, positions himself as a pro-European "progressive" standing against what he describes as Le Pen's anti-Muslim, nationalist programme and alleged "complacency" about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ahead of the second and final round, the French president
is facing a host of issues, including those related to shortages of beds and health workers in hospitals and his proposal to push back the retirement age in France from 62 to 65 amid ongoing unemployment.
Macron told his supporters after Sunday's first round that "nothing is decided, and the debate we'll have in the next two weeks will be decisive for our country and for Europe".
Le Pen, for her part, underscored that the runoff would be "a fundamental choice between two opposing visions of society", urging "all those who did not vote for Macron" to join her.