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PARIS, April 7 (Reuters) – France’s far-right candidate Marine Le Pen shrugged off market concerns over her strong ratings ahead of Sunday’s first round of presidential election, saying her “serious” program was supposed to work for voters, rather than for markets.
Long numb to the poll and what looked like an easy path to President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election, markets woke up this week as Le Pen narrowed the gap in the opinion polls enough to make victory a reality. within the margin of error.
Le Pen scoffed at what she called “doom-mongering”, telling RTL radio on Thursday that her program was solid and would aim to support businesses and “give money back to the French people” by lowering VAT as well as France’s contribution to the EU budget.
“The policies I want to put in place are not for the stock markets, which will change Emmanuel Macron,” she said, adding: “It’s not the markets that create jobs, it’s not is not international finance”.
Macron is still leading in all opinion polls and still seen as the most likely winner. But his late start with a lackluster campaign prompted even some in his camp to say a victory for Le Pen might be possible.
A likely high abstention rate adds to the uncertainty.
That, in turn, helped push France’s borrowing costs higher on Wednesday, with the 5-year yield near its highest since 2014, and the 30-year yield approaching its highest since 2019. before dropping on Thursday.
Pro-business think tank Institut Montaigne said Le Pen’s program to lower the retirement age to 60 and cut energy taxes could come at an additional cost 75% higher. what she thinks.
France’s already stretched budget deficit could increase by another 102 billion euros ($111 billion), for a debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of 7.1% in 2027, according to the think tank.
Macron’s campaign hit back on the economic front on Thursday.
“I want people to realize what France would be like under Marine Le Pen,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Franceinfo. “There would be more inflation,” he said, and more taxes to fund his plan to privatize toll roads.
“And there would be less sovereignty, because we would be allies of Russia, of Vladimir Putin,” he added, attacking Le Pen for his longstanding admiration for the leader – which she toned down and nuanced since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Macron himself, long focused on Ukraine, is now focusing his campaign on purchasing power, which Le Pen successfully focused on for a month. He promised Wednesday to increase pensions.
($1 = 0.9163 euros)
Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Clarence Fernandez
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