Emmanuel Macron, in two-hour interview, admits to many mistakes, slamm…

Emmanuel Macron, in two-hour interview, admits to many mistakes, slamm…




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He additional: “Have I made mistakes? Yes, a lot.”

While he has not however officially said he will run for a second term in April, and he again dodged the question, Macron has started a de facto campaign. He said in the interview he was as determined as ever to continue reforming France.

Macron, who had been a minister under Socialist president Francois Holland, ran in the last election as a political outsider who was neither of the left nor the right.

But during a presidency hit by social unrest over his pro-business economic reforms, his policymaking has drifted to the right, alienating some centre-left supporters.

“When I was elected, I loved France, and now I can tell you I love it already more madly. I love the French,” he said. “These five years have been five years of joy, of hard work, but also of crisis, of periods of doubt.”

The 43-year-old president, elected in May 2017, answered at length journalists’ questions in the luxurious reception room of the Elysee presidential palace. The pre-recorded interview was broadcast in chief time.

To gain re-election, he needs to win some of his supporters back but also fend off a challenge from conservative competitor Valerie Pecresse, who recent surveys show has a shot at reaching the second round and beating Macron.

The new Les Republicains candidate who describes herself as describe herself as “one-third Margaret Thatcher and two-thirds Angela Merkel” had earlier protested to the state broadcasting regulator, saying Macron’s planned two-hour interview should count towards his campaign air time, The Times reported.

Valerie Pecresse, candidate for the French presidential election 2022, delivers a speech in Paris last weekend.Credit:AP

To convince the centre-right or conservative voters, he insisted he would continue with reforms – already if, he said, his pension reform may not be as drastic as initially planned.

But to reassure those more left of centre, he rejected the “president of the high” label some gave him when he cut a wealth tax at the start of his term.

“Why were we able to protect [the vulnerable] during this [COVID-19] crisis? Because we had done the job because we had a credibility, a solidity, connected to the reforms of the labour market,” he said, referring to one of his most unpopular initiatives.

Reuters, AP

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