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Macron accused of hijacking French TV ahead of EU parliament vote

Emmanuel Macron's end-of-the year address to the French people (File Photo - December 31, 2017) REUTERS/John Schults

Ahead of European elections, the Yellow Vest movement and hard-left France Unbowed party have lodged complaints against President Emmanuel Macron for monopolising French TV with a 'one-man show', as his centrist alliance drew level with the far-right frontrunner in a recent poll.

The far-left France Unbowed party (La France Insoumise, or LFI) announced Friday that it has filed a complaint against President Macron with France's national TV and media watchdog.

LFI deputy Eric Coquerel said that Macron was monopolising French television with a 'one-man show', in view to campaign for European elections in May.

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"Is it normal that in a modern democracy, a leader uses television to justify his politics?"

Soon after France Unbowed's announcement, a faction of the Yellow Vest protest movement – which had announced its intention to stand in the European elections – followed suit with another complaint to France's media watchdog.

The Yellow Vests have accused Macron of using televised public meetings to "increase his popularity and serve the interests" of his political party Republic on the Move party (LaREM).

'Hours and hours' of Emmanuel Macron

Coquerel, a deputy from the Parisian suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, deplored that "three times a week, we have hours and hours of Emmanuel Macron on French television".

"This is clearly a one-man show," Coquerel said, voicing concern about how public opinion may be affected.

Italy's interior minister Mateo Salvini is poised to be Emmanuel Macron's arch-rival in European parliamentary elections in May 2019 AFP

A prelude to European elections

Other opposition parties in France, namely Les Républicains (The Republicans) and Rassemblement National (National Rally) had already filed complaints with France's media watchdog.

Campaign rules for European parliamentary elections on 26 May impose equal television time for all candidates. These are supposed to apply six weeks before the polls.

The European elections, to be held at the end of spring this year, are seen as determining Europe's future political landscape.

Emmanuel Macron, who is championing a progressive political movement, faces fierce opposition from far-right hardliners like Italy's Matteo Salvini, Hungary's Victor Orban and France's Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen's National Rally had been forecast to win big at the May elections, but a poll published on Thursday showed Macron's centrist LaREM-Modem alliance had drawn level with the hard-right party on 22 percent.