The European Union is preparing a complete embargo on importing Russian oil, as per The New York Times. According to the publication, before adopting the “final” decision, “there are a few days left” since Russia is the largest oil supplier to the bloc, such a decision will have political and economic consequences in the French elections.
European officials have explained that the proposed embargo “will cause – and it is clear – a sharp increase in fuel prices, likely to hurt the incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron and improve the chances of his rival Marine Le Pen.
Le Pen is considered pro-Russia
French presidential candidate and leader of the National Rally party Marine Le Pen has said she continues to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. In an interview with the BFM TV channel, she said she still does not deny that Crimea is part of the Russian Federation because there was a referendum. She said that she would not go to Kyiv yet. Perhaps the Ukrainian authorities will lift the entry ban when she is elected president.
The referendum on the reunification of Crimea with Russia was held in 2014, following which the overwhelming majority of the peninsula’s inhabitants voted in favour of transfer to Russian jurisdiction.
France is currently holding presidential elections. According to the first round of elections, the current President Emmanuel Macron won 27.84% of the vote. Le Pen came in second with 23.15% of the vote, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing France Insubordinate party, came in third with 21.95% of the vote. After the first-round results, Macron and Le Pen advanced to the second round. The first round of presidential elections was held on April 10, and 12 candidates participated. The second round will take place on April 24.
Le Pen vs Macron
After Jacques Chirac, none of the French presidents managed to take the presidential chair at the Elysee Palace for the second time. But Macron seems to be able to reverse this trend. The difference between the votes received by him and Marine Le Pen in the first round is less than 5 per cent (Macron won 27.84%, Le Pen – 23.15%). After losing, most of the presidential chair hopefuls urged their supporters to vote for Marcon or at least against a right-wing radical party leader. So, unless some “miracle on the Seine” happens, Macron’s second victory in the presidential election in the last five years is guaranteed.
The scenario of the first round held on Sunday more or less mirrors what happened in the French presidential elections in 2017 when Marcon and Le Pen received the maximum votes to move to the second round.
But the forecasts for the second round show that the gap between the candidates will be much smaller than in 2017 (then Macron received twice as many votes as his rival – he had 66%, she had more than 33%). Moreover, some polls do not exclude even the success of Le Pen in the second round. However, the vast majority of polls promise an advantage for Macron.
Does that mean that Le Pen still has minimal chances to win?
Some polls of consulting firms suggest that her ability to break through the glass ceiling by gaining more than 50 per cent of the vote and emerging victorious cannot be completely ruled out. But such forecasts are very limited.
Marine Le Pen has noticeably narrowed the gap with the incumbent president, who has a lot of trump cards. It indicates that Marcon has disappointed his voters, including socio-economic issues, mass protest movements such as the Yellow Vests, and variable successes in the fight against coronavirus.
The Ukrainian crisis had a massive impact on the election campaign in France – there can be no two opinions here. The main opponents of Macron were in favour of dialogue with Moscow – in particular, Le Pen and, to an even greater extent, her radical right-wing rival Eric Zemmour.
Macron, in this sense, looks like a compromise figure. On the one hand, he sharply condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine but at the same time maintained a dialogue; even after the start of the Russian special operation. He spoke several times with President Putin on the phone, more than an hour each time. Before the beginning of the special operations, they talked in Moscow. Macron is not only the current president but also the chairman of the Council of the European Union for six months and a contender for the role of leader in strengthening the security of the EU.