French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday that he will run for a second term, one day ahead Friday’s deadline.
Macron is already leading in national opinion polls, and if he wins the two-round election on April 10 and 24, he will be the first French president to win a second term in office in 20 years.
“We have not achieved everything we set out to do. There are choices that, with the experience I have gained from you, I would probably make differently,” Macron said.
Polls show Macron as the front runner, supported by a 40% approval rating, The Associated Press reported. His approval rating is higher than those of his predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy at the end of their five-year terms.
The French electoral system requires candidates to receive 500 endorsements from elected officials. Macron was the first of the candidates to achieve this benchmark, even without a formal candidacy announcement.
The rule was put in place to limit the number of people running for president.
Macron made his announcement in a “Letter to the French,” published online by several websites. In it, he said, “I am seeking your trust again. I am a candidate to invent with you, faced with the century’s challenges, a French and European singular response.”
Macron, 44, acknowledged that his campaign plans have inevitably shifted as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and his prominent role in diplomatic discussions.
France holds the rotating presidency of the European Union Council.
“Of course, I will not be able to campaign as I would have liked because of the context,” he said.
With Macron at the head of European efforts to establish a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, his campaign will rely heavily on foreign policy. His opponents’ agendas address domestic policies.
“In a crisis, citizens always get behind the flag and line up behind the head of state,” said Antoine Bristielle, a public opinion expert at the Jean-Jaures Foundation, a Paris think tank, Agence France-Presse reported.
“The other candidates are inaudible. In every media, all anyone is talking about is the invasion,” Bristielle said.
Macron’s challengers include two far-right figures, Marine le Pen and Eric Zemmour, and conservative candidate Valérie Pécresse.
Macron has a huge advantage as the incumbent, said Henri Wallard, chairman of the French polling firm Ipsos. Macron’s address to France about the war in Ukraine and its consequences on the nation garnered 21 million viewers.
“That’s after he spoke nine times to the French during the COVID crisis. So he doesn’t play on the same team as the other candidates, because he is already in charge and dealing with a crisis,” Wallard told The Associated Press.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.