NIn the first debate of this campaign for the legislative elections, broadcast on the French television channel TF1, the candidate of the National Union (Rassemblement National, in French), Jordan Bardella, from the extreme right, began by introducing himself as “the prime minister of power purchase”.

Among the measures he defended, Bardella highlighted that, if he becomes Prime Minister, one of his priorities will be to reduce VAT on energy – with the main objective of reducing the price of fuel – and, when asked about the fact that he had postponed the implementation of some measures he proposed, such as the reduction of VAT on essential goods, he said that he intended, first, to carry out an audit of the State’s accounts, highlighting that it is in a situation of “almost bankruptcy”.

This justification was soon attacked by Manuel Bompard, representative of the New Popular Front (Nouveau Front Populaire, in French) – a coalition that unites several left-wing parties, such as the socialists, Unsubmissive France, the ecologists or the communists -, who accused Bardella of is using budgetary arguments to “abandon measures from its program”.

In contrast, the left-wing candidate argued that it is necessary to control the price of energy, fuel and a basket of food, in addition to increasing the minimum wage to 1,600 euros, which was criticized by the current prime minister and coalition candidate. Together (Ensemble, in French) – which brings together the parties that support the current government majority -, Gabriel Attal, who made it a priority to lower electricity bills by 15% and promised “a package to increase purchasing power”.

“I could do like my competitors and promise everything to the French. But the difference is that I’m prime minister and I don’t want to lie,” he said.

Afterwards, the candidates addressed the issue of reforms, with Gabriel Attal guaranteeing that he will not revoke the pension reform, which raised the retirement age to 64, and which was the reason for much social protest in France before it was implemented. in 2023.

In contrast, both Bardella and Bompard decided to revoke this reform, despite disagreeing on the model to be implemented.

Bardella defended that the retirement age should be lowered to 60 for those who started working before the age of 20, recognizing that, with his proposal, anyone who started professional activity at the age of 24 could only retire at the age of 66 – more than than foreseen in the current system.

The left-wing candidate highlighted that, with the proposal he defends, everyone could retire at age 60, despite admitting that anyone who, at that age, does not have 40 years of discounts would also not be able to earn the full value of their pension. remodeling.

Regarding immigration, the National Union candidate stated that he wants to end the automatic attribution of nationality to those born in France, in addition to wanting to “regain control of immigration policy” and prevent immigrants who have yet to be regularized in France from having access to care. public health in the country.

“When his personal ancestors arrived in France, I think his political ancestors said precisely the same thing that he is saying here today”, criticized Bompard, in an allusion to Bardella’s Italian and Algerian origins, arguing that, “instead of denigrating ” immigrants, the far-right candidate “should thank them, because they have jobs that the French don’t want and they contribute to the economy.”

It was, however, on the issue of security that the debate heated up the most, focusing in particular on a proposal defended by the National Union which provides that French people who have dual nationality will not be able to access certain jobs in the public service.

Bardella justified this measure by questioning whether there is anyone who wants a French-Russian citizen to control a French nuclear power plant, with Gabriel Attal pointing out that, in the European Parliament, the National Union has a French-Russian advisor who works in the Foreign Affairs Committee and has access to sensitive data about the war in Ukraine.

“It is stigmatizing 3.5 million French people,” Attal accused, before stressing that the purpose of the measure is not to prevent access to Franco-Russian citizens, but rather those of Arab origin. Bompard also criticized the measure, accusing Bardella of “hurting millions of French people.”

In the end, Bardella asked voters not to be “intimidated by those who exploit fears” and to “turn the page”, an expression that was also used by Bompard, who called on the French to “turn the page of ‘macronism’, without May France be ruined by racism, hatred of others and every man for himself”. Attal, on the other hand, defended that France “has an appointment with its values ​​and its destiny”, stressing that he does not intend to stigmatize or make the French “turn against each other”.

Read Also: Here are the main moments of Macron’s departure from the French


Leave a Reply