In France, where there are fears about immigrants, another candidate is handling a tough franchise

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PARIS – The president, the candidate said, he “Eliminate non-French territories, ”Or more crime-ridden neighborhoods, where“ the little old lady is told to stay home ”because drugs are being sold outside her apartment.

He promised to send troops to help restore “republicanism” in these areas, where the perpetrators would be severely punished under the law.

“We have to get rid of them,” he said during a prime-time debate.

It was not the far-right leader Marine Le Pen who was speaking, but the center-right candidate Valérie Pécresse in the April presidential election.

Ms Beckress recently won the nomination of Republican successors to the parties led by Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. She adopted Vocabulary of the far right, With its racial and colonial foundations, proposes harsher punishments for higher crime areas for the same crimes elsewhere, experts say, in violation of France’s basic principle of equality before the law.

But the first one behind him, Miss. Beckress – a moderate conservative who is often compared to President Emmanuel Macron – now faces the difficult task of expanding his support base. Pulled to the right by his own party and the far right, he must also speak to moderates and traditional conservatives who dominate the political campaign and are not interested in the themes of immigration and national identity.

Busy with her primary victory just two weeks ago, Ms Beckres, the current head of the Paris region and budget and then former national minister for higher education, voted against Mr. He has risen to second place next to Macron. Election. Mr. To Macron, Ms. The challenge for an entrepreneur like Pcresse is that in 2017 he easily defeated Ms. Le Pen can prove to be much stronger than the challenge.

The rise of 54-year-old Ms Beckress comes at a turbulent time in French politics. Until last summer, most experts were looking forward to the 2017 rematch, when Mr. Macron competed against Mrs. Le Pen. But the emergence and rapid rise of far-right writer, television pundit and now presidential candidate Eric Zemmer has turned things upside down.

By severely weakening Mrs. Le Pen, Mr. Gemmore’s nominee, Mr. Beckress, passed the first round. Has created a path to face Macron.

Like the president, Ms. Pécresse is a graduate of France’s high schools and is fluent in English at international organizations. Mr. Despite her criticism of Macron’s spending and the recent proposal to cut 200,000 government jobs, she is still considered pro – business and pro – European. On social issues, he is considered more conservative than the president. He opposed it when homosexual marriage became law in 2013, however he changed his position.

Like others on the right and far right – those who have fought against the alleged invasion of France by immigrants, even though visits to France have grown less than in other rich countries in Europe or around the world over the past decade – Ms. Pécresse took a tough stance on immigration. Describing it as “out of control”, he said there was a link between immigration and the rise of Islamism, terrorism and crime. He proposes to provide quotas for immigrants on the basis of origin and type and to reduce social benefits for them.

The first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate by the Republicans was Mrs. Beckress mentions former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher talking about their own leadership.

Alexandra Dublanche, vice president of the Paris region, who has worked with Ms Beckress for a decade, said she was inspired by candidate Thatcher’s “reformer and courage to do things.” Ms. In Merkel, Ms. Pécresse praised “a long-term vision and the ability to unite people behind him.” Ms. Dublanche said.

Ms. Beckress’s success in the first place, and to political experts, Mr. It was considered a surprise to his opponents, including Macron’s allies. He defeated four men, two of whom were clearly described as favorites. Ms. Dublanche said Ms Pécresse was “clearly” underestimated because of her gender.

Ms. In the first days after the success of Pécresse, Mr. Macron’s allies have been vocal in their opposition to his candidacy, but they are now pushing for his position in the primary.

“On issues like immigration, he’s close to the far right or the far right,” he said. Macron’s party’s national legislator Sacha Houlié said.

Ms. to cut 200,000 government jobs. Mr Pécresse’s proposal is an example of austerity measures that could harm the recovering economy. Houlié said.

Ms. Some of Pécresse’s supporters, including his gender Mr. They say a property can be proven against Macron, who was criticized for ruling with a small male circle, despite insisting on equality in the workplace when he was president.

Female candidates from other parties won the second round of elections in 2007 and 2017. Howley said.

“So I think this is an exaggeration,” he said. “Yes, she is a woman, perhaps it is new to the right, which reflects their backward view of French society. It is common for women to enter politics. ”

But for now, Ms. Experts say Pécresse’s biggest challenge is managing differences within his own party and potential supporters.

Like the rest of the French community, his party has moved further to the right in recent years, said Emilian Hart-Vail, a party expert who teaches at the University of Science Poe in Paris.

“He faces strong pressure on the right side,” Mr. He said he would be expected to make “promises” on issues such as hard-veal, immigration, crime, national identity and “abolition of culture.”

Traditionally, party leaders Ms. Le Pen, formerly known as the National Front, has drawn a clear line between their organization led by the National Rally and the far right.

Ms. Dublanche, Ms. He told Pécresse that there was a “complete barrier” between his party and the far right.

But in recent years the lines separating the party from the far right have become increasingly blurred. Eric Seotti, who finished second in the Republican primary, won the title. Macron and Mr. In an imaginary confrontation between Gemmoor, he said he supports the far-right television pundit and writer.

In fact, Ms. Pécresse left his party in 2019 – only to return in October – because he did not agree with its orientation under its leaders at the time.

“He left the party because the right did not agree with the growing change,” said Gayle Bertriev, a longtime Republican, who was forced to step down as vice president a few days after Ms Beckress’s victory due to criticism of the party’s inclination. More right. “So I do not understand why he is returning to the party and promoting the same kind of comments he has criticized in the past.”

During a prime-time debate during the primary, Ms Beckress accepted a vaguely ambiguous position on the “big alternative” – ​​Mr. He is a conspiracy theorist popularized by Zemora and argues that the white Christian population of France is being deliberately replaced by African Muslims. . This revelation was cited by white supremacists in the massacres in New Zealand and the United States.

“If he’s not clear on this theory of big change, I can not vote for someone who supports those ideas,” he said. Said Bertrio. Instead of “providing concrete solutions to social problems,” he said, his party would not “sacrifice abroad.”

“We can be representatives of power, law and justice,” he said, “without drowning in racist and hateful words.”



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