Presidential Election, Exit polls, and surveys predict that the controversial French presidential race will be a tight contest. The candidates have spent tens of millions of dollars preparing for the election, and they have the public’s backing. A high-stakes showdown between far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron is shaping up. Le Pen and her supporters are hoping to take advantage of the anti-immigrant sentiment that has been on the rise in France in recent years. The centrist Macron, on the other hand, is seen as the only candidate with the experience and foreign-policy credentials to defeat Le Pen. The election will take place on May 7, with balloting ending on May 22. Here’s what you need to know about the French presidential election.
Who Can Run for President of France?
The candidates in the French presidential election are listed below, along with their party affiliations and backgrounds. The full list of candidates includes two members of the far-right National Front: Marine Le Pen and her running mate, the former captain of the French rugby union team Jean-Marie Doussine. The candidates of the center-left Socialists and Greens also qualified for the race.
The Socialist Party ruled out a run for the presidency in the 1930s, only to see its ideas revived by France’s current ruling party, the Socialist Party. The Greens, which formed a parliamentary faction in 2012 and has been active in European elections, qualified for the first time in the 2017 election. The list of candidates includes 18 women, the most of any major party in France.
How the French Election Works
The French presidential election is held on a non-party-affiliated basis. Whoever wins the Most Votes presupposes the support of an independent coalition of candidates from all parties, regardless of whether they have any official affiliation with any of them. The number of votes a candidate receives is the sum of his or her votes from all the registered parties. If no party wins an outright majority, the top two candidates (who obtained the most votes) advance to a run-off election.
The number of candidates in the first round is set by law at 15, with another seven sets as “wildcards” if no one gets a majority in their own constituency. The number of parties and candidates can raise or decrease by order of the French Constitutional Council, which supervises the results.
The Candidates: Who’s Running in France’s Presidential Election?
Only one person can run for president of France: the winner of the election.
Of the 17 candidates who have announced their runs for the presidency, six are from the established parties: the Socialists, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Greens, and the Free Democrats. The most recent addition to this list is the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, who entered the race in October. The other candidates are Le Pen (National Front), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Left Front), François Fillon (Republican Party), and Benoît Hamon (Socialist Party).
The Real Issue in the French Presidential Election
The French election is more than just a head-to-head matchup between two candidates. It’s a referendum on the direction of the country and the EU after the Brexit and the Trump debacles.
Voters are being asked to choose between two very different visions of France’s future. One candidate, of course, represents the traditional right-wing views of the National Front. But Le Pen has positioned her campaign as an anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-immigration movement. Her supporters are called “expatriates” and they are the largest group of voters in the first round.
The second major issue is the economy. While some candidates have been vocal in their support for a more interventionist economic policy, Macron has positioned himself as the anti-politician, with a promise to “run the economy” and “defend the French jobs market.”
What to Watch for in the Final Days of the Campaign
The final stretch of the campaign is likely to be the most nail-biting so far. Will the pro-EU Macron be able to convince the French people that he is the best choice for President? And what about the anti-immigration Le Pen?
The race is close, but it’s clear that the French people want change. Emmanuel Macron has the support of 47% of the French people and Marine Le Pen has the backing of 45%. With just over a week to go before the election, it’s anyone’s race.
What’s at Stake in the French Presidential Election?
The French presidential election is a significant test of the strength of laissez-faire democracy.
The election is also a crucial test for the state of the economy. If Macron can’t convince the French people that he has the right economic policies to boost the flagging French economy, his campaign will have failed.
It’s also a contest between two very different visions of Europe, with Le Pen seeing the EU as a source of danger, and Macron as a potential partner.
How to Follow the French Presidential Election
French elections are always a bit of a mystery. You never know who you’re going to get. So, how can you follow the race? What stories will be covered?
Here are some things to keep in mind.
First, the polls are always early and accurate. As a result, any fluctuations in the polls tend to be smaller than the changes in public opinion as a whole.
Second, don’t just take the results at face value. Pay particular attention to the polling averages. They’re a much more accurate reflection of public opinion than the polls themselves.
Third, pay particular attention to the campaign stops and events. Read the coverage on the candidates’ websites and in the press. You won’t know what you haven’t heard.
The French presidential election is a tightly contested race. Whoever wins will have a large amount of power in France, and the consequences for Europe and the world will be significant.
The two candidates have different visions of France’s future. The question is, which one will get the most votes?