Former U.S. President Obama announced Thursday he is supporting Emmanuel Macron for the French presidency, noting that though he did not plan to get involved in many elections after his presidency, “the success of France matters to the entire world.”
The endorsement comes three days ahead France’s presidential runoff Sunday: Macron, the independent centrist who won the first round on April 23, is up against Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, who finished second. Polls suggest Macron will win by a wide margin, though abstention could affect the outcome.
Obama said Macron “stood for liberal values” and “put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world,” adding in an apparent reference to Le Pen that Macron, 39, “appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears.”
As Emily Schultheis noted in The Atlantic last month, Obama and Macron’s campaigns share plenty of similarities. Like Obama, Macron relied on a large and seemingly unprecedented grassroots campaign composed of thousands of volunteers across the country. Both leaders’s campaigns were centered on moving their countries in a progressive direction—Macron’s slogan being En Marche, or “Onward!,” while Obama relied on the slogans “Change We Can Believe In” and, for his reelection campaign, “Forward.”