Michel Barnier to take on Macron as he announces plan to run for French President

Michel Barnier discusses the state of politics in Europe

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The 70-year-old will officially confirm his candidacy this evening, French broadcaster BMFTV says. Despite Mr Barnier’s high-profile role, he will need to overcome low levels of public recognition in France.

In recent days Valerie Pecresse and Philippe Juvin have also thrown their hats into the ring.

Mr Barnier is also facing a strong challenge from Xavier Bertrand, seen by many as the most likely to topple 43-year-old Mr Macron – although he has not yet declared his intention to run.

Despite not having confirmed his intention to run, Republicans Party member Mr Barnier, who has served in the cabinets of both Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, has been actively contributing to the political debate on Twitter.

His most recent post references his television appearance this evening.

Speaking to Express.co.uk at the start of the year, Dr Joseph Downing, an LSE Fellow in Nationalism at the LSE’s European Institute, was less than optimistic at Mr Barnier’s prospects.

He told: “The paradoxical thing about the current political situation is that I do not see as yet a credible challenger.

“And that I think is the other side of the coin when it comes to the system, which is quite worrying for French democracy.

“Who is there who is looking to be a credible challenger?

“Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has mooted a possible bid for the Presidency.

“But he has no charisma whatsoever. He makes Macron look like a rockstar in terms of charisma.”

Emmanuel Macron was elected French President in 2017, comprehensively beating National Rally’s Marine Le Pen in the second ballot.

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