Presidency 2022: the external echo of the controversy between the two rounds

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen did not talk about their external program during the televised debate on Wednesday night. But some themes of particular resonance are mentioned in the overseas territories.

Million abstained from ultramarine for persuasion. 330,000 French voters abroad led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of persuasion. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen faced each other during the traditional two-round debate on Wednesday, April 20 to defend their project for France and win the presidential election four days before the second round.

From purchasing power to institutions, through education, secularism and the environment, the contenders for the presidency of the Republic have not had the opportunity to expand their respective projects overseas – the sea, even if some of the actions mentioned during the evening particularly affected territories far from France.

Marine Le Pen criticized Emmanuel Macron by invoking the fate of the arrested nurses after the entry into force of the commitment to vaccination law, which the government put in place at the beginning of the year to fight Covid-19. Without a full vaccination schedule, employees working in hospitals and social medical centers can no longer practice their profession, and therefore their salaries are suspended.

“I will give them back (…) and I will give them back the salaries they were denied.”Candidate announced. A measure that would particularly affect the West Indies, where the revolt among nursing staff was strong last fall. In Martinique and Guadeloupe, as in Guyana, residents have been more skeptical than anywhere else in France about vaccines against Covid-19.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have emphasized their very different approach to environmental transformation – with the exception of the nuclear issue, which the two contenders for the Elysee support.

Marine Le Pen says she wants to develop green hydrogen production, a renewable energy often considered the “fuel of the future” because it reduces carbon dioxide emissions. “But Madame Le Pen, how do we make green hydrogen?”then opposes the outgoing president. “nuclear power”, you answer. Then Emmanuel Macron asserts that France does not have the current capabilities to produce this non-polluting energy.

On this point, Micah Merid, general secretary of the Science Poe Outside Chair, who specializes in hydrogen, noted on Twitter that the candidates didn’t pick up on the topic. According to the researcher, the French Overseas Territories play an important role in this sector, and thus in the country’s energy transition.

During the section on secularism, female anchors questioned among the candidates about whether or not to ban the wearing of headscarves in public places, a topic that has returned to the news in recent days, thanks to a campaign extended between the two parties. Two towers. A question specifically related to Reunion and especially Mayotte, a French province where the majority of the population is of the Islamic faith.

Marine Le Pen wants to ban the wearing of the veil in public places in France, with the aim, according to her, “Fighting the Islamists”. “I am not going to war against [la religion musulmane]”determined, but against “Islamism”. But it did not specify whether the ban would apply to islands in the Indian Ocean. Last month, at the invitation of Outre-mer La 1ère, she nonetheless noted that she distinguished the situation between Mayotte and France: “I believe that there are real peculiarities of the overseas territories and they must be respected”She said, noting that the headscarf will remain legal in the circuit as she came first in the first round.

At the time, President Emmanuel Macron criticized the stigma towards Muslims that such a law would entail. He advocated strict enforcement of the Separation of Church and State Act of 1905, and called for a ban on the wearing of any religious sign in schools, but not in public. And to point out to Marine Le Pen that the action she took would mean banning the wearing of the yarmulke or cross for Jews and Catholics as well, as the constitution mandates equality of citizens before the law.

The panelists concluded more than two and a half hours of discussion on the topic of institutions. Emmanuel Macron, who has particularly regretted the lack of referendums during his five-year term – a rebuke from Marine Le Pen – has expressed his desire to consult the French more if re-elected. The President did not mention the three consultations on self-determination for New Caledonia that were organized under his mandate.

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen wants to introduce a citizens’ initiative referendum if she is elected president, a request that came from the yellow vest movement. In his project, about 500,000 French people could ask for people’s advice on the text of the law. However, there is a high threshold for the Overseas Territories, in which the number of residents only inclusive exceeds this number of residents. It is therefore difficult to envision holding referendums on the status of the Overseas Territories, for example. The candidate, however, was declared unfavorable.

On the other hand, the Elysee contender indicated that she would present to the people’s vote a bill to reform the French immigration policy, including suspending the land law, which would allow a child born in the French territory to obtain French citizenship. Guyana and Mayotte have been affected by large influxes of illegal immigration. It should be noted that jus soli is already outlawed in Matthew.

The Chair, in his closing remarks, regretted the absence of a more in-depth discussion on the French Overseas Territories. From this perspective, it’s hard to tell whether the more than one million Ultramarines who didn’t move during the first round of the presidential election have found a reason to move into the second round next Sunday.

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