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Macron angers the French left, the far right insists on no exit from NATO – World

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron faced accusations of transphobia on Wednesday after criticizing an election manifesto, while the leader of the far-right RN party insisted he was not questioning France’s international obligations, including on NATO would pull.

With less than two weeks before the first round of snap elections that Macron called in response to his party’s defeat by the far right in European polls, the president is struggling to make up ground.

According to opinion polls, his governing alliance will only come third in the June 30 parliamentary election – followed by a runoff on July 7 – behind the far-right National Rally (RN) and a new left-wing alliance.

This could put RN leader Jordan Bardella in a position to become prime minister in an uneasy “coexistence” with Macron, although the 28-year-old insists he will only accept this if his party and allies win an outright majority of seats.

During a visit to a major defense show outside Paris, Bardella stressed that he has “no intention of questioning the defense commitments France has made on the international stage” if he takes power.

He added that France would continue arms supplies to Ukraine under an RN government – ​​although long-range missiles and other weapons that could hit Russian territory would be excluded to “avoid any risk of escalation”.

“Our credibility vis-à-vis our European partners and NATO allies is at stake,” he said at the Eurosatory arms fair outside Paris, tempering the far right’s historic hostility to the Atlantic alliance.

Opponents have long pointed to a huge loan that the RN received from a Russian bank in 2014, which it has since repaid, and to the warm relationship between figurehead Marine Le Pen and the Kremlin.

The rise of the New Popular Front (NFP), which groups left-wing parties from socialists to communists, has been an unwelcome development for Macron since he called early elections in the hope of rallying moderates from across the spectrum.

But Macron said on Tuesday during a visit to western France that he had “confidence in the French” not to choose the extremes on the left and right.

“They see clearly what is on offer. The RN and its allies offer things that might make people happy, but at the end of the day we are talking about 100 billion (euro) a year” (€107 billion), he said.

Bardella has sought to shore up its economic credibility by softening costly promises, including cutting VAT on energy and fuel.

The French national debt of 110 percent of GDP – more than three trillion euros – was the focus again on Wednesday when the European Commission opened an excessive deficit procedure against Paris.

Macron had also lashed out at the NFP on Tuesday, charging that “it is four times worse on the far left” than on the far right.

“There is no more secularism, they will come back to the immigration bill and there are things that are completely farcical, like changing your gender at the town hall,” he said.

The left coalition’s program includes a proposal that would allow for the change of civil status.

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