French presidential election: Francois Bayrou backs Emmanuel Macron boosting fight against Marine Le Pen
‘To tackle this exceptional situation, I think we need an exceptional response,’ says centrist
Centrist politician Francois Bayrou has confirmed he will not stand in France’s presidential election and has offered an alliance to independent candidate Emmanuel Macron.
The move could give former investment banker Mr Macron a much-needed boost against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and Republican Francois Fillon in the race to reach the final round of the election on 7 May.
“We are in an extremely risky situation, and to tackle this exceptional situation, I think we need an exceptional response,” said Mr Bayrou.
“I have decided to offer Emmanuel Macron an alliance. The danger is too big we must change things,” he said, describing his decision as a “sacrifice.”
Pro-EU politician Mr Bayrou won about nine per cent of first round votes when he ran in the 2012 presidential election as leader of the Democratic Movement party, or MoDem, which he founded in 2007.
He said he would hold talks with Mr Macron in the coming hours and would set several conditions for the alliance, although they are unlikely to deter Mr Macron’s camp.
Describing French democracy as under threat, he said that the conservatives under Mr Fillon were riddled with scandals and the Socialists, who he backed in 2012, were in disarray, a situation that could pave the way for the far-right.
The latest daily polls showed Ms Le Pen as the favourite to win the first round of voting on 23 April, followed by Mr Macron and Mr Fillon.
But projections of second-round run-offs between Ms Le Pen and either Mr Macron and Mr Fillon predict a loss for the Front National leader.
“What’s at stake with this alliance is to restore hope,” said Mr Bayrou.
Former finance minister Mr Macron has created his own party called ‘En Marche!’ in a bid to become France’s next President.
Additional reporting from Reuters