Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday that he will give an interview on national television on June 6th broadcasted by public channel France 2 and the private Channel TF1. The opposition is pestering against the timing of this interview. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

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French opposition accuses Macron of foul play ahead of EP elections


Senior French opposition politicians have accused Emmanuel Macron of foul play ahead of the EU elections.

It comes after the French President said he would give an interview on national television days before the European Parliament vote, the timing of which has raised eyebrows amongst his political rivals.

Officially, on June 2, Macron said he would use the June 6 interview to discuss the “international events in Ukraine and Gaza and speak on the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings during World War II”.

The opposition has instead argued that he will use the interview to talk about the upcoming European Parliament with the ultimate aim of dominating the news cycle on the last day before France’s election media embargo kicks in.

“What urgency could possibly require the president to requisition the news the day before the end of the [EP] campaign?” asked François-Xavier Bellamy, the lead EP candidate for the Republicans

“When the press is already reading this choice as ‘the last chance’ on its list, it is clear that this is another indecent electoral diversion.”

La France Insoumise (LFI) announced on June 3 that it was taking the matter to Arcom — the regulatory authority for audiovisual and digital communication in France.

“Its airtime must be deducted from Valérie Hayer’s campaign time. In a democracy, there is no official candidacy,” said Manon Aubry, LFI’s lead candidate.

Socialist Party President Olivier Faure went further, suggesting that the Macron interview would be front-page news throughout the entire election cycle as all of his political rivals will be legally banned from responding.

“So Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it’ll be ‘Fidel Macron’ on all the channels to commemorate and express himself without a contradiction. In short, to campaign at a time when no one will be able to respond to him anymore,” he said.

Valérie Hayer, the lead candidate for Macron’s Renaissance party, has since tried to defuse the controversy.

“Emmanuel Macron is not going to hide. He’s going to speak on the evening of a day that will be an international event,” she said.

The Renew politician went on to ridicule the suggestion that the interview was part of a plot to boost her polling.

“Did the President choose the date of the D-Day landings and the date of the European elections? He’s not going to come out with a Valérie Hayer ballot paper!”

The interview is scheduled just three days before the EP elections. In France, during this period, it is traditional that government members do not comment on the contest nor announce any new reforms, primarily to ensure the “neutrality of the State” before major public votes.

This new controversy meanwhile only adds to the problems being faced by France’s government.

Macron’s Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, is currently fending off attacks within the National Assembly as his government struggles to make budget cuts.

In response to his implementation of savings measures aimed at addressing France’s deteriorating public finances, members of the National Assembly had demanded that Attal submit a finance bill to tackle the issue to the French Parliament before the end of May.

The governement refused the demands, prompting both the hard-left LFI and the hard-right National Rally (RN) to initiate separate votes of no confidence in the PM.

If passed, Attal must submit the government’s resignation to the President of the Republic, possibly prompting another general election.

Still, the vote is unlikely to pass, as the rebels would need the absolute majority of 289 votes, a task that is currently impossible due to them lacking the support of Les Républicains.