Brexit-bashing Barnier lags behind Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, new poll finds

Michel Barnier discusses the state of politics in Europe

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Michel Barnier, 70, announced he will challenge Emmanuel Macron in the 2022 French Presidential Election. He told French broadcaster TF1: “In these dark times, I took the decision to run for the French presidency, to be president of a reconciled France.”

Brussels former chief negotiator in UK-EU trade talks is standing on a surprisingly Eurosceptic and patriotic platform, which includes a pledge to halt non-European immigration for up to five years.

Yesterday, EuropeElects shared Ipsos’ opinion poll that included the ex-Government Minister.

The findings will not please Monsieur Barnier or Les Républicains.

He registered just 11 percent support in the first round opinion poll.

This leaves him in joint third-place, alongside the potential Green Party candidate Yannick Jadot.

But the poll goes from bad to worse for Barnier.

Rather than cutting support for the two frontrunners, respondents indicated Macron and Le Pen could receive even more votes from French voters.

Macron, who was elected French President in 2017, would finish top in the first ballot on 24.5 percent – up half a percent on the most recent poll.

His main challenger, far-right populist Madame Le Pen, also received a Barnier boost, as her support increased by one and a half points to 22.5 percent.

Mr Barnier must overcome another enormous challenge to get on the ballot in April 2022.

He must fend off his centre-right rivals to win the Republican Party’s nomination.

The Ipsos poll included a second scenario in which the President of the Paris region, Valérie Pécresse, defeated Barnier to win the Republican primary.

The poll indicated Ms Pécresse would fare slightly better than Barnier in the first round of the Presidential Election.

The 54-year-old registered 14 percent support and prevented either Macron or Le Pen from extending their leads over the other candidates.

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And Xavier Bertrand, while no longer affiliated to Les Républicains, is set to outdo both on 15 percent.

However, Alex Apati of Ladbrokes, which currently has the EU negotiator at 40/1 to win the presidency overall, recently told Express.co.uk: “Michel Barnier has made his intentions clear and while Emmanuel Macron unsurprisingly leads the way in the French Presidential betting, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Barnier’s odds fall over the next few days.”

In the 2017 election, Macron earned 24 percent of first-round votes, while Le Pen got 21.3 percent.

In the second round of voting, Mr Macron romped to victory with 66.1 percent of the vote, with Ms Le Pen earning 33.9 percent.

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