PARIS – A senior French Muslim leader has called on the country’s nearly 5 million Muslims to “vote massively” to elect Emmanuel Macron president in the second round of election next May 7.
“The Grand Mosque of Paris and its National Federation (FGMP) call on Muslims in France to vote massively for candidate Emmanuel Macron,” Dalil Boubakeur, Rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, said in a statement cited by Huffington Post on Monday, April 24.
He added that the second round “is decisive for the destiny of France and its religious minorities.”
Without referencing Marine Le Pen explicitly, Boubakeur said, “the French must imperatively remain united and united in the face of the reality of the threat incarnated by xenophobic ideas dangerous for our national cohesion.”
Macron, a centrist with pro-business, pro-European views, will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the May 7 runoff of the presidential election.
Macron took 8.4m votes (23.75%) and Le Pen 7.6m (21.53%) – the highest ever score for the Front National.
After the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and the US vote for the political novice Donald Trump as president, the French presidential race is the latest election to shake up establishment politics by kicking out the figures that stood for the status quo.
The historic first-round result marked the rejection of the ruling political class – it was the first time since the postwar period that the traditional left and right ruling parties were both ejected from the race in the first round.
Macron is a 39-year old socialist politician, senior civil servant, and former investment banker.
He studied Philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, and graduated from the École nationale d’administration (ENA). Later he became an Inspector of Finances in the Inspectorate General of Finances (IGF).
In 2014, François Hollande appointed him to be the Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs for two years, then in 2016 he established his socialist centrist liberal party En Marche (EM).
His program is based upon economic reforms and pro-European cooperation.
According to academic Vincent Geisser, who gave a conference to decrypt the presidential election, Muslims would form an electoral body of 2 million citizens, or 5 percent of the voters.
Facing Le Pen in the second round, the outcome of the poll could shift in the event of a concentrated vote on a candidate.