French President Emmanuel Macron (right) accompanies French former President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) as he leaves after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Feb 25, 2022. (LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)
PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron denied on Wednesday that there was any wider political agreement with former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy over his endorsement of Macron ahead of a second round of the presidential election on April 24.
French media have speculated that Macron, who will need a new majority after legislative elections later this year following the presidential vote, obtained Sarkozy's endorsement after offering political influence in return.
Sarkozy's endorsement will help Macron attract voters who backed the conservatives' candidate Valerie Pecresse in the first round of the election, but it could also deter left-wing voters who will see it as confirmation that Macron is as right-wing as Sarkozy
"There was no agreement," Macron told France 2 television, a day after Sarkozy endorsed him. Macron is facing a tight race against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Sarkozy's endorsement will help Macron attract voters who backed the conservatives' candidate Valerie Pecresse in the first round of the election, but it could also deter left-wing voters who will see it as confirmation that Macron is as right-wing as Sarkozy.
Sarkozy, 67, is France's last conservative president and is still seen as an influential figure in the center-right Les Republicains party.
However, the very existence of Les Republicains now appears under threat after many of its voters backed Macron or Le Pen in Sunday's first round.
Macron also said on Wednesday he was ready to forge new political alliances in order to continue reforming France.
"The fractures we have in the country will require me not only to obtain a majority but also to rally all those political forces behind me that don't totally share my views on all topics but would be open to work with me on some reforms," Macron said.
"I'm not talking about coalitions," he added, saying that such cross-party arrangements were not suitable for France's presidential political system.
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