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Valerie Pecresse, the conservative who might perhaps perhaps also turn out to be France’s first lady president

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Economic system5 hours within the past (Jan 11, 2022 03: 26PM ET)


© Reuters. Valerie Pecresse, head of the Paris Ile-de-France self-discipline and Les Republicains (LR) just correct-flee occasion candidate for the 2022 French presidential election, speaks at some level of an interview with Reuters at her advertising campaign headquarters in Paris, France, January 7, 2022


By Elizabeth Pineau

PARIS (Reuters) – Fifteen years within the past, Valerie Pecresse quelled a scholar riot over her college reforms with the same mix of consensus-constructing politics and reformist mettle that she believes will now propel her to the French presidency.

Chosen to plug last month by rotten-and-file members of the conservative Les Republicains occasion, voter surveys point out Pecresse might perhaps perhaps also beat President Emmanuel Macron in April’s election. If she succeeds, she would turn out to be France’s first lady head of inform.

In an place of work embellished with framed cinema posters, Pecresse, 54, reeled off a list of woes going thru France that keep up a correspondence of her social and financial conservatism: unpleasant defend watch over of national borders, violent city ghettos and a rising pile of debt.

“We want to revive expose, each and every on our streets and in our national accounts,” she told Reuters.

A minister for increased training and then the budget at some level of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, Pecresse mentioned last week she would function “the energy hose” to good up effort neighbourhoods the assign the inform had lost authority and lawlessness prevailed.

Severe of Macron for “burning a hole within the inform coffers” at some level of the pandemic, Pecresse has promised to reform France’s beneficiant pension diagram and prick a bloated public wage bill – each and every pledges she says Macron has failed to bring on.

Her vogue, she says, is “two-thirds (Angela) Merkel and one-third (Margaret) Thatcher”.

“I am a lady who consults, decides and acts,” she mentioned. “The one-half Thatcher is to relate ‘I’m no longer for turning’,” referring to a phrase in a 1980 speech when the conservative British leader refused to backtrack on liberalising reforms.

Pecresse pointed to the chopping of a total bunch of jobs at her head place of work to glean device for more excessive-college workers, reduced spending and increased funding as proof she gets issues carried out. In 2020, she gained a 2d mandate to plug the upper Paris self-discipline.

Opponents who had nicknamed her “the blond” had paid the worth, she mentioned. Asked if France changed into prepared for a lady president, she replied: “Voters on the coolest enjoy shown they’re prepared, and so that they would per chance perhaps perhaps also even be primarily the most reticent to belief a lady.”


Pecresse’s occasion, which traces its origins to Charles de Gaulle, dominated French politics for plenty of the put up-war expertise. But after Macron redrew the landscape in 2017, it has struggled to unite its centre-just correct and staunchly conservative factions.

The defection of a senior conservative lawmaker to the advertising campaign expose of some distance-just correct polemicist Eric Zemmour on Sunday underscored the relate she faces keeping a feuding occasion collectively.

Conception polls point out her in a shut-fought urge with Marine Le Pen, leader of the veteran some distance-just correct, for the 2d self-discipline within the election’s plug-off vote. Zemmour follows shut within the again of. Should mute she glean it, she would be primarily the most dreadful opponent for Macron, the surveys suggest.

Born in an upmarket Paris suburb and skilled at France’s elite ENA college for politicians and civil servants, Pecresse is a practical in a conservative occasion that has lurched rightwards because the some distance-just correct fuels anti-immigrant sentiment and a desire amongst many voters to glean refined on legislation and expose.

Pecresse has toughened her language on immigration and identity, in search of to neutralise the probability from Le Pen and Zemmour, whose promise to “set up France” distance-just correct-commentator-zemmour-broadcasts-presidential-plug-2021-11-30 from Islam has polarised France.

She says she would close the automatic just correct to French citizenship for folk born in France and stiffen judicial sentences in locations the assign police enjoy lost defend watch over.

On a table in Pecresse’s place of work sits a portray of Samuel Paty, the teacher decapitated by a Chechen-born youngster in a suburb of Paris in 2020 because he faded caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a lesson on free speech.

Pecresse mentioned the teacher’s portrait would apply her to the Elysee Palace if she gained the election.

“We can enjoy to be unbending within the honor of our values,” Pecresse mentioned. “Within the public space, the legislation comes sooner than faith. It be the same rights, the same tasks for all.”

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