French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said he was keeping his options open for the 2022 presidential elections, saying nothing was excluded including not standing at all.
“If I put myself in the position of being a candidate, I would no longer take the right decisions”, Macron told the Brut online news site in a televised interview.
“It will come, if it has to come, at the right time,” he said.
He added: “And maybe I won’t be able to be a candidate. Maybe I will have to do things in the last year, in the last months, that is hard, because the circumstances demand it, and which will make it impossible for me to be a candidate.”
“I rule nothing out,” said Macron, who in May 2017 capped a meteoric rise aged just 39 to become modern France’s youngest president.
Most analysts firmly expect Macron to stand for a second term despite a turbulent stint in the office that has seen protests, strikes, the Covid-19 pandemic, and a spate of attacks blamed on Islamist radicals.
His main rival would likely be far-right leader Marine Le Pen although any emergence of surprise candidates on the right — such as former general Pierre de Villiers or ex-prime minister Edouard Philippe — could turn the picture upside down.
“Some people start their campaign a year-and-a-half in advance, but I believe in action and conviction,” said Macron.
Le Pen has already declared her intention to stand in the polls, as well as far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.