In France, a Nail-Biting Election as Macron’s Rival Surges

From the market stall outside Paris that she’s run for 40 years, Yvette Robert can see first-hand how soaring prices are weighing on France’s presidential election and turning the first round of voting on Sunday into a nail-biter for incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.

Shoppers, increasingly worried about how to make ends meet, are buying ever-smaller quantities of Robert’s neatly stacked fruits and vegetables, she says. And some of her clients no longer come at all to the market for its baguettes, cheeses and other tasty offerings. Robert suspects that with fuel prices so high, some can no longer afford to take their vehicles to shop.

“People are scared — with everything that’s going up, with prices for fuel going up,” she said Friday as campaigning concluded for act one of the two-part French election drama, held against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Macron, a political centrist, for months looked like a shoo-in to become France’s first president in 20 years to win a second term. But that scenario blurred in the campaign’s closing stages.

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