French Presidential Election — what you need to know.
In two months France will begin the process of electing their new president. The current President François Hollande is not running for re-election and his successor will likely be either Emmanuel Macron, François Fillon or Marine Le Pen. However, who out of the three will become president is anything but clear.
- Why isn’t Hollande running for re-election?
François Hollande is very unpopular in France and a poll out last year showed 90% disapproved of him as President. This is the worst score any president has ever had since the polling began three decades ago — this is due t0 high unemployment (which is at 10%) and major terror attacks such as those on Charlie Hebdo. Hollande hoped that by dropping out The Socialist Party could nominate someone more popular who could win an election, however their candidate Benoît Hamon is polling in 4th.
2. How do France elect a President?
France has a two round voting system. In the first round all but the top two candidates are eliminated and then in the second round people will go back to the polls and, just those two candidates will be on the ballot, whoever gets over 50% will win the presidency.
3. Who are the Candidates?
There are currently 5 candidates polling at or above 10%. These are Jean-Luc Mélenchon — a hard left candidate who wants immediate nuclear disarmament and for France to withdraw from NATO — , Benoît Hamon of The Socialist Party — who has been compared to Jeremy Corbyn because of his left wing policies such as the introduction of Universal Basic Income, Republican François Fillon — whose wants to cut 500,000 public jobs, Marine Le Pen — who wants France to withdraw from The EU and Emmanuel Macron — a candidate that describes himself as “neither left nor right” and was up until last year Minister of The Economy.
4. Who’s the most likely to win?
It’s one of the most unpredictable elections of the 21st Century — that’s including Brexit and the election of Donald Trump — up until last week François Fillon was the clear favorite to win but has since been embroiled in a scandal where he is alleged to have paid his wife and children — using taxpayer money -for doing a non-existent job. After this polls suggest he may not even make the second round — this benefits his two main opponents — Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
Marine Le Pen is probably the most likely of the three to make the second round and has been coming out on top — for the last month- in polls for the first round of voting. However, every single poll for the second round of voting has shown her losing — whether that be to Fillon or Macron. Emmanuel Macron — who was seen as very unlikely to win just weeks ago — is now the favourite to win and latest polls show him winning the second round against Marine Le Pen by a large margin.
So while the most likely scenario seems to be Emmanuel Macron becoming President it’s worth remembering just how unpredictable this race has been so far and that polls could still be wrong — just like they were in The American Election and Brexit Referendum.