The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will be held on April 10, with the incumbent President facing challenges from far-right and far-left rivals. However, a new poll shows a growing number of French voters want to see the election delayed over the war in Ukraine.
A quarter of French people want the presidential election to be postponed, according to a CSA poll for CNEWS released on March 10.
The poll asked whether the date of the election should be postponed, and found 11 percent answered “yes, absolutely” and 14 percent said “yes, preferably”.
CNEWS called it a “significant ratio”, despite 49 percent answering “no, not at all” and 26 percent saying “no, rather not”.
Of those surveyed, 44 percent of 18-24 year olds want the election postponed, whereas only 19 percent of 35-49 year olds would like to see the dates moved back.
The CSA poll said most of those wanting to postpone the vote were of the “radical left”, finding 52 percent of those who say they hold those views backed delaying the election.
It also found 45 percent of supporters of La France Insoumise wanted the election delayed.
On the right, regardless of the party concerned, no more than a quarter of supporters want the election to be postponed.
LREM supporters, with Mr Macron as their candidate, are the least in favour of such a scenario at 12 percent.
The survey was conducted from March 8 to 9 by a self-administered online questionnaire, on a representative sample of 1,010 people aged 18 and over, according to the quota method.
The French Constitution allows for a postponement of the presidential election between 20 and 35 days before the expiration of the powers of the president in office.
For Mr Macron, this is May 13, 2022. The first round could therefore be held, at the latest, on April 17.
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The war in Ukraine has improved Mr Macron’s hopes of re-election, surveys suggest. One at the end of February gave the President his highest support since the start of polling.
In the IFOP poll for Paris Match, Mr Macron rose two points to 28 percent support, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s lost 0.5 points to 16 percent.
Third-placed Eric Zemmour dropped 1.5 points to 14 percent, and centre-right conservative Valerie Pecresse dropped one point to 13 percent.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced Ms Le Pen and Mr Zemmour to justify their past support for Vladimir Putin.
Mr Macron officially announced he would seek a second term as French President on March 3, just before the deadline to declare his intention to run at 6pm local time (5pm GMT).
He acknowledged France has “many trials together”, and said: “Terrorism, the pandemic, war in Europe: rarely has France been faced with such an accumulation of crises.”
Mr Macron then said: “I am asking for your confidence for a new mandate as president of the Republic.
“I am a candidate to…respond to the challenges of the century. I am a candidate to defend our values.
“I am a candidate to continue to prepare the future of our children and our grandchildren.”
Antoine Bristielle, a public opinion expert at the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, a Paris thinktank, told France24 Mr Macron will benefit from the war in Ukraine drawing attention to foreign policy rather than domestic issues.
He said: “In a crisis, citizens always get behind the flag and line up behind the head of state.
“The other candidates are inaudible. In every media, all anyone is talking about is the invasion.”
In the IFOP poll, both Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen would qualify for the presidential run off, with a predicted 28 percent and 17 percent of the vote respectively.
Expected figures for the April 24 runoff then showed Mr Macron securing 56.7 percent of the vote against Ms Le Pen, handing him a second term.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega