By Elizabeth Pineau
PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron is set to launch his re-election bid soon, focusing on a handful of big policy ideas, government sources told Reuters, with a first campaign rally likely to be held on March 5.
Macron, 44, will be entering the presidential race just a few weeks before the election’s first round on April 10 and will hold only a few large campaign rallies, the sources said.
“Everything is ready for the first 15 days following the announcement of his candidacy: first campaign trip, which meeting, which media and themes,” a government source said.
“We will focus on three or four major policy proposals on issues such as rebuilding France, a new social contract. The idea is not just to prolong his mandate but to surprise, propose, shake things up,” the source said, without spelling out the proposals.
Other candidates have been campaigning for weeks already.
Opinion polls suggest Macron is favourite to win a contest in which multiple challengers on the right and left fragment the vote, although it is likely to be a much tighter race than when he was elected in 2017.
Although he has not yet formally confirmed that he will run for a second mandate, Macron has strongly hinted he would, and it has long been widely viewed as an open secret that he will.
“Everything is ready,” another government source confirmed, saying the election platform, but also the rallies, campaign strategy and other aspects of the campaign had largely been ironed out, with a few final decisions to be taken by Macron and a small number of aides at the weekend.
Macron should take part in a campaign rally in Marseille, another in Paris and a third one in western France, the source said.
The two sources and other aides aware of the campaign preparation declined to say on what day Macron will confirm he is a candidate, saying they aimed to keep that secret as long as possible.
One thing is certain: Legally, all candidacies have to be registered before 6 p.m. on March 4.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Hugh Lawson)