dcohen5_GONZALO FUENTESPOOLAFP via Getty Images_macron GONZALO FUENTESPOOLAFP via Getty Images

Waiting for Macron

While French presidential candidates on the left and the right fight for various segments of voters, the incumbent is quietly biding his time. Though surprises are not unknown in French elections, Emmanuel Macron appears to be on the cusp of consolidating the strategy that he pioneered in 2017.

PARIS – Although the French presidential election is just two months away, it still feels as though the campaign hasn’t really begun. On both the right and the left, the candidates are busy marking their territories off from close rivals. Each seems to be more focused on settling internal accounts than on confronting the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron.

On the left, seven candidates are playing a zero-sum game for no more than 25% of the electorate. On the right, a similar contest is playing out between the center and the extreme, with three candidates ultimately vying for about 45% of the electorate. Opinion polls currently show Macron winning the first round with 25% and being re-elected in the second round, regardless of whether he faces Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Rally or Valérie Pécresse of the traditional center-right party, Les Républicains.

Macron, meanwhile, seems content to watch his challengers fight among themselves. He has been postponing the official announcement of his candidacy until the last minute and has made clear that he will not participate in the first-round debates.