23 February 2017

Emmanuel Macron and François Bayrou form alliance

Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign has been boosted by a surprise alliance with veteran centrist François Bayrou.

Bayrou, the perennial “third man” of French politics, surprised supporters on Wednesday by offering to sacrifice a separate candidacy and join forces with the former Socialist economy minister, who is standing on a centrist ticket.

Bayrou said the French were “disorientated and despairing”, faced with the far-right Front National candidate Marine Le Pen – currently leading in the polls for the first round vote – who he said was the “threat and major danger for our country and Europe”, and Fillon, 62, hit by allegations over jobs given to his wife and children.“Never in the past 50 years has the democracy in France known such a situation,” Bayrou said, adding that French politics was riddled with “practices that would not be expected anywhere else”. The presidential campaign, which has been rocked by scandals, had left him “stupefied” and “made a mockery of France”, he added.