In a significant development in France, two politicians commenced campaigning for presidential elections, to become the country's first female leader in 2022 elections scheduled for spring. The far-right National Rally party's Marine Le Pen and Paris' Socialist Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, both launched their platforms on September 12.
The duo is set to join a burgeoning list of challengers to the centrist France President, Emmanuel Macron. The scuffle includes potential candidates on the right, including another female politician Valerie Pecresse. Hidalgo, 62, Mayor of the French capital since 2014, is likely to win the Socialist Party nomination, Associated Press reported. She had launched her candidature in the northwestern city of Rouen.
"I want all children in France to have the same opportunities I had," Hidalgo had stated, citing her roots. Hidalgo is the daughter of Spanish immigrants who fled their country in a bid to seek freedom amid dictator Francisco Franco's rigid and oppressive rule.
On the other hand, Le Pen, the 53-year-old leader of France's far-right party, started her campaign in the southern city of Frejus with a pledge to defend French 'liberty'. In keeping with a hard-right message that critics say has vilified Muslim communities, Le Pen promised to be tough on 'parts of France that have been Talibanized'. Although she launched her candidacy earlier this year, she had inducted the 26-year-old Jordan Bardella as the acting head of the party as her campaign goes into full gear.
Experts claim that Pen is gearing up for the upcoming elections by working on her image. Conservative daily Le Figaro highlighted that Le Pen's special councillor Philippe Olivier claims that Le Pen's trademark dark blue wardrobe is gone.
The 43-year-old French President, Macron, has not confirmed his election manifest but is expected to announce his bid. Notably, launching a candidacy in France is a pre-requisite for each presidential election. The vote is anticipated to boil down to a duel between Le Pen and Macron, as it was during France's previous presidential election in 2017.
It now remains to be seen who takes over as the next President of France.