LEFT BANK: With France’s presidential race heating up, Pierre Bergé in an interview published in French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday revealed that he is rooting for French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

The centrist candidate in the latest polls is running neck-and-neck with Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far right National Front party, as the two frontrunners in the French presidential election.

Bergé, a patron of the left who was a close friend of the late Socialist president François Mitterrand, also supported former French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal in the 2007 elections when she ran against Nicolas Sarkozy as the Socialist Party candidate.

“Ségolène Royal is Joan of Arc, Emmanuel Macron is a general of the Empire,” quipped Bergé in the interview, which centers on the ongoing sale of his personal library.

Bergé in the piece also dismissed rumors that Macron is gay and shared his theory on the success of the National Front, saying: “People are mistaken about the FN voters because they refuse to feel guilty.…The [true] voters of the FN [fascists] are a minority, the majority of them are people who have been left by the wayside by the traditional parties. The responsibility of the right and left parties in this is considerable.”

Bergé suggests that France’s current Socialist president, François Hollande, made a mistake in not seeking a second term, as the first French president to do so in modern history.

“François Hollande started badly, and ended badly. When one has a political destiny, one must be prepared to put up with ingratitude. Politics is a cruel business. If François Hollande had read [Pierre] Corneille, he would have done it.”

Bergé, the longtime partner of Yves Saint Laurent, media magnate and president of AIDS charity Sidaction, began his time in Paris as a dealer in antiquarian books. His life was threaded with literary and artistic companionships, including Jean Giono, Jean Cocteau and Bernard Buffet, before meeting Saint Laurent.

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