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As France heads towards the second round of parliamentary elections, a candidate supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s political party has quit the race in Guadeloupe, where distrust of the government is high.
Marie-Luce Penchard – a former minister for overseas territories – withdrew her bid to represent the fourth district of Guadeloupe late Tuesday, citing “political maturity” and “realism” for the surprise move.
In a Facebook post, she denounced a world where “pretenses, insincerity and personal calculations” prevailed, often to the detriment of the common good.
Penchard, who polled second in last week’s first round vote, said conditions were no longer favourable for her to “continue the adventure”.
She added: “Persisting would mean participating in aggravating the breach of trust between the citizen and politics by strengthening the ranks of abstentions. I will explain my political choices in greater detail when the time comes.”
‘Blow to democracy’
Penchard’s withdrawal hands a de facto victory of Socialist Party (PS) rival Elie Califer, mayor of the town of Saint-Claude, who collected 38.61 percent of the vote against Penchard’s 19.88 percent.
However the PS has blasted her decision to exit the race, calling it a “damaging blow to democracy” that deprived voters of the “confrontation of ideas to which they were entitled”.
The daughter of French political figure Lucette Michaux-Chevry, herself a minister of Jacques Chirac, Penchard is a Guadeloupe native who served as minister for overseas territories under Nicolas Sarkosy.
Her tilt for a place in the National Assembly came under the banner of Macron’s political coalition, Together.
Although Macron’s now rebranded Renaissance party polled well during the last elections in 2017, support for the President has plummeted in the French Caribbean on the back of strict anti-covid measures.
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