Paris (CNSNews.com) – With a little more than one week to go until French voters decide between independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine le Pen, prominent politicians from across the political spectrum continue to throw their support behind Macron for the May 7 runoff.
They include President Francois Hollande, who chose not to run for re-election, as well as the man who ran on behalf of Hollande’s Socialist party, Benoit Hamon, who came fourth in Sunday’s first round with just 6.36 percent of the votes.
Another leading Socialist, former prime minister Manuel Valls, also called for support for Macron, warning against “the danger” of Le Pen and her Front National (FN).
Les Républicains presidential candidate, François Fillon, who fell short of a place in the run-off – obtaining 20.01 of the vote compared to Macron’s 24.01 percent and Le Pen’s 21.30 – was quick to call on his supporters to vote for Macron, also seeing Le Pen as a danger for the country.
But tensions have emerged within the center-right party, with not all members agreeing with him.
One prominent Républicains endorsement for Macron came from Alain Juppé, a former prime minister and current mayor of Bordeaux, who lost to Fillon in the party primaries last November.
Addressing supporters in Paris on Tuesday night, Juppé criticized what he called the “stupid plays” of some members of the party who have not said clearly for whom they will vote – or who are even suggesting casting a blank protest vote (known in France as a “white” vote.)
“To vote white is to give the FN a chance,” he wrote on Twitter. “Enough of plays! To beat [Le Pen] there is only one solution: vote Macron.”
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, another Républicain hopeful defeated in the 2016 party primaries, also warned supporters about Le Pen.
“The election of Marine Le Pen and the implementation of her project would have very serious consequences for our country and for the French,” he wrote on his Facebook account, using the opportunity to announce he has no plans to return to politics.
Meanwhile Jean-Luc Mélenchon, head of the leftist movement Rebellious France, has not yet endorsed a candidate in the run-off. Given the fact he took 19.58 percent of the votes in the first round his announcement, should it come, will be closely watched.
Beyond France’s borders, European politicians seemed more than willing to have their say, throwing their support behind Macron who, unlike Le Pen, is supportive of the European Union.
“It is good that Emmanuel Macron has been successful with his position for a strong E.U. plus a social market economy,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on Twitter. “Good luck for the next two weeks.”
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he was “sure” Macron will be successful.
Former British Finance Minister George Osborne, a Conservative, congratulated his “friend” Macron on his victory in the first round.
Before Sunday’s voting, opinion polls predicted that Macron and Le Pen would win the first round, and forecast that in a run-off Macron would easily win.
Polls since Sunday have underlined that prediction, putting Macron 20 or more points ahead.
The coming week will be hectic for both candidates, as their camps worry many voters may not bother to vote on May 7 or cast blank ballots.
Once France has a new president, voters will elect a new parliament in June. The makeup of that new parliament will affect the degree to which the new president will be able to govern.