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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Staff and agencies in Paris

Emmanuel Macron: win for far left or far right ‘will spark civil war’

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace last Friday. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the far right National Rally (RN) party and the leftwing New Popular Front coalition – both of which are frontrunners in the parliamentary election – risked bringing “civil war” to France.

Macron told the podcast Generation Do It Yourself that the manifesto of the RN party – which election pollsters put in first place – and their solutions to deal with fears over crime and immigration were based upon “stigmatisation or division”.

“I think that the solutions given by the far right are out of the question, because it is categorising people in terms of their religion or origins and that is why it leads to division and to civil war,” he told the podcast.

Macron made the same criticism of the extreme leftwing La France Insoumise (LFI) party, which forms part of the New Popular Front coalition.

“But that one as well, there is a civil war behind that because you are solely categorising people in terms of their religious outlook or the community they belong to, which in a way is a means of justifying isolating them from the broader national community, and in this case, you would have a civil war with those who do not share those same values,” said Macron.

Asked to respond to Macron’s comments, RN president Jordan Bardella - seen as a possible prime minister if the RN wins the most votes in the election - replied to M6 TV: “A president should not say that.“

France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon also condemned Macron’s comments in an interview with France 2 TV, saying it was Macron’s own policies that were bringing about civil unrest, for example in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia.

Macron’s comments were broadcast hours after the RN released its election manifesto, which promises to limit immigration and scrap nationality rights for children born and raised in France by foreign parents.

At the manifesto launch in Paris, Bardella said the party’s long-term priority was to “put France back on its feet” by introducing what he called “a necessary law against Islamist ideologies”. The details of this project were not spelled out.

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