Emmanuel Macron cites Brexit to prevent another populist victory at the eleventh hour

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Alongside Mr. Macron were Jean Castex, his prime minister, and Huguette Tiegna, a local black MP who in recent months has received four death threats from “extremists”.

French politics have become increasingly polarized in recent years. In an interview on Friday morning, Mr Macron conceded he had been unable to contain such anger during his tenure.

“She [Ms Le Pen] managed to take advantage of what we failed to do. On some things, I failed to quell some of the anger,” he said.

Ms Le Pen, whose policies include banning the Muslim headscarf in public, prioritizing French nationals over jobs and benefits and limiting EU rules on cross-border travel, said Mr Macron embodies an elitism that let ordinary people down.

Sunday was, she said, a referendum between “Macron and France”.

Brexit still in the minds of the French

At the real estate agency Art & Maisons in Figeac, we were talking more about the exodus of British owners.

Laurence Duffour, the owner of Art & Maisons, said: “Many left when the pound slid towards the euro and Brexit accelerated the trend. Some stayed anyway. But now, for some reason, we are overrun by Belgians.

Bursting in, Edwige Boyer, a 63-year-old Macron councilor in nearby Cajarc, said she was not reassured by Sunday’s second round: “I never thought we would end up with the extreme right so high. I think Macron will win, but it will be much closer than you think and I fear abstention.

At the Champollion bookshop in the main square, the owner, who declined to be named, said she had voted for Mr Melenchon in the first round and would reluctantly vote for Mr Macron in the second round.

“I don’t vote with my heart, but I’m too afraid of a fascist regime not to vote,” she said.

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