The outgoing president is caught between on the one hand the management of the Russian-Ukrainian war and on the other hand the deadline, this Friday, to file his candidacy for his re-election.

The timing and form of Emmanuel Macron's declaration of candidacy, widely favored in the polls, has turned into a headache for him, even if the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine crushes the campaign and could suddenly transform into an asset for the president in a period of extreme instability, at the risk of evading the democratic debate.

The president met on Monday morning a defense council devoted to Ukraine.

He was also to participate in the afternoon in a videoconference with foreign leaders, "in order to continue the close coordination between allies and European partners" on the conflict in Ukraine, announced the Elysée.

This weekend, France decided in particular to increase deliveries of "defense equipment" to Ukraine and to strengthen economic and financial sanctions against Russia.

Candidates for Matignon

For his part, Prime Minister Jean Castex is organizing an "information meeting" for presidential candidates on Monday at 3 p.m. on the conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The invitation was sent only to candidates with at least 300 elected sponsorships, excluding for example Christiane Taubira, who complained about it on Sunday evening, believing that "this conception of democracy does not honor her".

The former Minister of Justice of François Hollande, who collected only 128 sponsorships at the last count, announced Monday morning to devote the whole week to the search for new signatures.

She canceled her other engagements.

All the candidates concerned accepted, except Nathalie Arthaud (LO).

It was not immediately clear if the rebellious leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon would participate in this meeting or be represented, while some candidates such as the ecologist Yannick Jadot considered that it would have been "good taste" to be received by the President of the Republic and not the Prime Minister.

Candidate LR Valérie Pécresse spoke on Monday, on the sidelines of the Agricultural Show, of a "desirable meeting" adding that "in this context, we must show both responsibility and a spirit of proposal".

MEP Yannick Jadot told him on franceinfo that he would take the opportunity to ask for a "normal exercise in transparency" on arms deliveries to Ukraine by France, the details of which have not been disclosed.

Agricultural "shield"

The war in Ukraine also forces the candidates to turn their programs upside down and to position themselves on the conflict and its consequences.

The far-right candidate Eric Zemmour, who condemned Moscow but whose pro-Russian positions are debated, estimated Monday on RTL that the arrival of Ukrainian refugees risks "destabilizing France", and "prefers that they are in Poland ", that we "must help" to cope.

The LR candidate, for her part, launched pikes at her far-right opponents, believing that "all those who advocate admiration or have a fascination for Vladimir Putin are discredited today for presiding over France".

On the left, the socialist Anne Hidalgo or even Mr. Jadot have attacked Mr. Mélenchon in recent days, also accused of sympathy with Moscow before the war.

During a trip to Reunion this weekend, Mr. Mélenchon admitted to having "made a mistake".

Meanwhile, at the Agricultural Show, a must for any candidate, the fear of soaring prices was on everyone's mind.

The question of “agricultural sovereignty will arise in the coming months in an acute way”, affirmed Ms. Pécresse, wishing the establishment of a “shield” to protect French farmers.

In addition to Ms. Pécresse, Ms. Hidalgo and the communist Fabien Roussel wandered Monday morning through the maze of the living room between cows and agricultural products.

© 2022 AFP