Weeks after saying he had no intention of offering a blessing to either French contender in Sunday’s presidential election, former President Barack Obama formally endorsed En Marche, “In Motion”, candidate Emmanuel Macron in a recorded video message to French voters on Thursday.
Among the most closely-watched election in recent French history, the outcome is perceived to be a verdict on globalism and immigration. It may also determine whether France remains in the European Union.
Emphasizing the impact of the May 7 French elections on global affairs and mentioning his shared values with Macron supporters, Obama said:
“I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run. He has stood up for liberal values; he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world; and he is committed to a better future for the French people. He appeals to people’s hopes, and not their fears.”
Mr. Obama punctuated his one-minute speech urging support for Macron with “Vive la France.”
An unusual move for a former chief executive, Macron allegedly sought out Mr. Obama for support in April, which led the former president to put in a phone call to Macron. In 2006, Bill Clinton endorsed Gordon Brown for UK prime minister, a post the Labour Party leader held until May 2010.
Aides to Obama have stated the phone call was not a formal endorsement of Macron, but rather a “show of support” for the Frenchman three days prior to the first round of French elections held on April 23.
Macron advanced to the second round of elections after a bruising primary fight against National Front’s Marine Le Pen, earning 24 percent of the vote to Ms. Le Pen’s 21 percent.
French polls open Sunday at 8 a.m. Central European Summer Time.
[AP] [CNN] [BNO News/YouTube] [Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore/Flickr via The Daily Dot]