Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

Graphic+from+SkyNews%2C++last+updated+March+9
Graphic from SkyNews,  last updated March 9

Graphic from SkyNews, last updated March 9

Graphic from SkyNews, last updated March 9

Flavie de Germay, ASPire Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Election

By Flavie de Germay

French citizens are preparing to go to the polls this week-end in the first round of a presidential election that is already proving to be a very high stakes election for France.

After the surprise of Britain’s Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump as US president, just what kind of politician France chooses will not impact just those inside Europe, but the whole world.

The election will take place in April and May of 2017. French elections always take place on a Sunday.

Candidates are pitted against each other twice – the first round of the vote takes place on April 23. Then, the two top candidates face each other in a second run-off, on May 7.

The top five candidates in 2017’s French election are, in alphabetical order: Francois Fillon (right-wing), Benoit Hamon (Socialists), Marine Le Pen (Front National), Emmanuel Macron (Independent) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (left-wing).

Each candidate has a very distinctive agenda and plan for France.

Fillon, 63, was the former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister for five years. Economically he is more radical; promising reforms including cutting taxes and public spending, raising the retirement age, freeing up labour laws and breaking trade union power.

The official Socialist party candidate, left-wing rebel and former education minister, Benoît Hamon, 49, aims to legalise cannabis and tax the wealth generated by machines that would replace jobs currently held by humans. He also hopes to scrap a 2016 law to make it harder to hire and fire workers. His most eye-catching policy is the introduction of a universal basic income.

Marine Le Pen, 48, is the third daughter of FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who made it to the second round of voting in the 2002 elections. Le Pen, in the European parliament, wants to end immigration, slash crime, eradicate Islamism, pull France out of Europe and save it from globalisation.

After studying at the elite Sciences Po and École Nationale d’Administration, Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a Rothschild’s banker and then an adviser and economy minister in Hollande’s government. He anticipates to make a public investment plan to cover job-training, exit from coal and shift to renewable energy, infrastructure and modernisation. According to the The Guardian, “he is economically liberal and pro-business but a progressive on social issues.”

Mélenchon, 65, was a junior Socialist minister from 2000 to 2002. his policies include shortening the working week, lowering the retirement age, raising the minimum wage and social security benefits, and taxing top earners at 90%. He also wants to abandon nuclear power, develop warmer ties with Russia, and renegotiate the terms of France’s EU membership

While there is no clear winner at this stage – one with political scandals, distrust towards  the polls, the recent shock Brexit result in Britain and Donald Trump’s victory in the US – Macron and Le Pen are in the lead.

Much ink has been spilled over the possibility that Marine Le Pen could ride to the Elysée palace on a wave of populism.

After the Islamic State claimed credit for the attack on the Champs-Elysées on Thursday April 20th, the question that looms in the days and hours ahead is how it will affect the presidential elections.

“Enough of laxism, enough of naivety,” said Ms. Le Pen after hearing about the attack on a TV debate between the candidates. “The fight against terrorism must be the absolute priority of the next French president,” added Mr. Fillon.

Le Pen hoped to claw back support after this latest attack by insisting that France requires a more authoritarian regime.

The Harris Interactive poll, however, showed that Macron is taking 26% of the vote on April 23rd compared to the 25% of Le Pen, who has been leading in the first round.

With polls suggesting the race is incredibly tight between the top five candidates, many analysts have warned that even at last-minute, something could affect the final result.

This election is one of the last stands that will shift France’s stand on globalization, renewable energy, the European Union.

These elections will determine the path France takes on many fronts, both internationally and locally.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    Foley Freedom Run/Walk exceeds fundraising goal

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    Opinion

    A Foreign View on 2017 French Presidential Elections

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    Emmanuel Macron, French Presidential Candidate

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    It’s a fashion statement: Designers use clothes to send political messages

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    Showcase

    The Waves of Feminism

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    A Global March

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    Sophomores shine a light on refugee issues with “Here Today” multimedia project

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    Clinton gives sad, graceful concession speech after U.S. election results

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    Blue Zone

    Paul Watson on humans, the environment and “eating the ocean”

  • Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections

    News

    American School of Paris students react to results of U.S. presidential election

Understanding the 2017 French Presidential Elections