March 23, 2017
PARIS (Reuters) – A second member of the French government of Socialist President Francois Hollande changed camp on Thursday, announcing that he was backing centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron instead of the Socialist Party contender in the presidential election.
The announcement by junior sports minister Thierry Braillard came a month ahead of the April 23 opening round of an election that the independent candidate Macron is tipped by pollsters to win in a May 7 playoff against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
“I’ve decided to back Emmanuel Macron from the first round of the presidential election,” Braillard said in a message on the Twitter social network.
After biodiversity minister Barbara Pompili earlier this week, Braillard was the second member of the government to jump ship in defiance of a request from Hollande that members of the government avoid election politics until at least March 24.
The announcement came after a new Harris Interactive poll showing Macron at front of the pack in the April 23 opener, in which he and Le Pen would go through to the runoff, with him winning that final contest resoundingly.
(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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