Macron Mocks Le Pen's ‘Monopoly Money’ Amid Paris DemonstrationsMark Deen and Geraldine Amiel
Election front-runner won’t drop his labor law reform
Both Macron, Le Pen claiming to be candidates of change
French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron mocked rival Marine Le Pen’s plan to create a new national currency and attacked her National Front party for anti democratic efforts as the nation’s tumultuous election enters its final days.
Speaking at a rally in Paris Monday, the 39-year-old candidate warned that Le Pen’s initiative to pull France out of the euro and the European Union would impoverish the country and would be irreversible.
“What they’re explaining today is that with this monopoly money things will be better,” Macron said. To that they add “an import tax that means that all imported goods, your televisions and telephones will become more expensive.” And he warned that if France goes down that path, it would be a journey with a “one-way ticket.”
With less than a week to go before voters chose between the two finalists in the election, the candidates are driving home their diametrically opposed messages. Le Pen is arguing against immigration, for border controls and a return of powers from the European Union. Macron is saying that France can flourish within Europe and in a globalized world.
The two finalists in the election spoke on the northern edges of Paris as police used tear gas to quell violent outbursts on the edges of union marches in the center of the capital. Four police officers were injured in the skirmishes, the Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said in a statement.
Polls show that Macron is the front-runner in the race with the support of roughly 60 percent of voters compared with about 40 percent for Le Pen. Yet with many backers of first-round candidates considering abstention, the outcome is far from certain and Macron says that he isn’t taking anything for granted.
Earlier in the day, Le Pen, 48, attacked Macron for having worked as a banker and for Francois Hollande, who became the least popular president in half a century in the face of record levels of joblessness, lagging economic growth and hundreds of deaths at the hands of terrorists.
“Don’t extend this contemptible mandate, don’t let them intimidate you,” Le Pen told supporters at a rally in northeast Paris. “On May 7, I ask you to block arrogance, finance and money as king.”
Macron charged Le Pen with surfing on citizen’s anger and dividing society to the point of putting France on a road to civil war. He acknowledged some voters would support him on May 7 simply to keep Le Pen out of office and argued that he stood for protecting the right for democratic debate even with those who don’t agree with him.
“We’re here, together with this responsibility -- to protect our republic and our democracy -- to protect the framework of our respectful disagreement,” he said. What we saw in the first round vote is that “the French have hope and optimism that’s why they put us in the lead. The second thing, and it’s just as important, is that the French are angry,” he said, adding that “we need to hear them as well.”
Macron said he won’t drop his labor law reform, as suggested by far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon who conditioned his public endorsement to the candidate to such a move. “These reforms, we have conceived them, supported them, we will implement them,” Macron said.
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— With assistance by Helene Fouquet, and Gregory Viscusi