French Presidential Election 2017: After Whirlpool battle, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron clash over fish

After 'the battle of Whirlpool,' when Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron both went hunting for France's blue-collar vote at a threatened home appliance factory, the presidential candidates clashed over fish in a return to more traditional campaigning on Thursday.

AP April 27, 2017 15:58:58 IST
French Presidential Election 2017: After Whirlpool battle, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron clash over fish

Paris: After "the battle of Whirlpool," when Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron both went hunting for France's blue-collar vote at a threatened home appliance factory, the presidential candidates clashed over fish in a return to more traditional campaigning on Thursday.

The anti-European Union far-right populist Le Pen was up before dawn to cruise aboard a fishing trawler on the Mediterranean. The sea trip was her latest television-friendly effort to portray herself as the candidate of France's workers against the centrist former banker and finance minister Macron, whom she paints as the candidate of the financial, political and pro-EU elite.

Macron had a scheduled television appearance on Thursday evening.

French Presidential Election 2017 After Whirlpool battle Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron clash over fish

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. AP

"My grandfather was a fisherman, so I am in my element," Le Pen said after her pre-dawn voyage aboard the "Grace of God 2" trawler.

She said France will take back control of its maritime policies if she is elected in the second-round vote on 7 May. She again tore into Macron's more economically liberal programme. Macron fired back on Twitter, saying her proposals to take France out of the EU would sink France's fishing industry.

"Have a nice trip. Europe's exit she proposes, it's the end of French fishing. Think about it," he tweeted.

With her sea voyage, Le Pen continued to hammer home the blue-collar theme she sought ownership of Wednesday with her surprise visit to the threatened Whirlpool clothes-dryer factory in northern France.

That wily campaign maneuver put Macron on the defensive and prompted him to also meet angry Whirlpool workers later that same day.

On Thursday, newspapers and commentators debated which of the two candidates scored the most points in the remarkable Whirlpool drama that highlighted their clash of styles and was broadcast live on French news channels.

"War is declared," ran the front-page headline Thursday of the daily Liberation.

Former presidential candidate Francois Bayrou — a Macron ally — awarded victory to the centrist, saying Macron showed courage by spending over an hour trying to reason with workers at the plant in Amiens.

Bayrou, speaking Thursday on BFM television, said Macron's impromptu visit — his attempt to take back the initiative after Le Pen stole his thunder by popping up before him earlier in the day at the Whirlpool factory gates — could have been "very bad for him."

Macron was whistled and booed when he first arrived, in chaotic scenes. But he stood his ground, patiently and at times passionately debating workers in often heated exchanges about how to stop French jobs from moving abroad.

"Arriving to whistles, he (Macron) left shaking hands" and showed his character, Bayrou said.

Updated Date:

also read

Tour de France 2021: Wout van Aert wins stage 20, Tadej Pogacar edges closer to victory with excellent performance
Sports

Tour de France 2021: Wout van Aert wins stage 20, Tadej Pogacar edges closer to victory with excellent performance

Wout van Aert won the time trial, but defending champion Pogacar's solid ride means he need only cross the Champs-Elysees finish line with the peloton in Sunday's 21st, and final, stage to retain the fabled yellow jersey as winner of the world's greatest bike race.

Louvre's art historian and archival sleuth Emmanuelle Polack tracks down works auctioned in Occupied Paris
Arts & Culture

Louvre's art historian and archival sleuth Emmanuelle Polack tracks down works auctioned in Occupied Paris

The key to her success in discovering the provenance of works that suspiciously changed hands during the Nazi Occupation was to follow the money.

Tour de France 2021: Cycling's boy next door Tadej Pogacar is 'new Cannibal'
Sports

Tour de France 2021: Cycling's boy next door Tadej Pogacar is 'new Cannibal'

On Friday, Pogacar was given the seal of approval from the man widely considered the greatest in the sport, the now 77-year-old Eddy Merckx, known as the 'Cannibal' because of his relentless hunger.