How to Follow the French Presidential Election Like a Pro – POLITICO

Press play to listen to this article

PARIS — Five years after a political novice named Emmanuel Macron snatched the Elysée, the French president faces no fewer than 11 challengers in a re-election marred by the Ukraine war.

The French will vote in the first round of the presidential election on April 10, with the run-off scheduled for April 24.

While no incumbent president has been re-elected since Jacques Chirac – both conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist François Hollande have been elected only once – Macron is the front-runner this year. But the race is also looking much closer than 2017, with far-right leader Marine Le Pen closing the polls gap with him in the final leg of the campaign.

Here’s what you need to know to follow the election like a pro.

How does the two round system work?

On April 10, the French will vote in the first round of the presidential election. You have to choose from 12 candidates – including experienced politicians and newcomers. The two candidates who collect the most votes on Sunday goes into the second round, which is scheduled for April 24th.

A media blackout begins at midnight on Friday and ends on Sunday when the last polling station closes at 8 p.m. During this time, politicians are not allowed to publicly advertise or speak. Newspapers and TV stations will have to wait until the media lockdown is lifted to show polls or broadcast voting results so as not to influence citizens who have not yet voted.

The first vote estimates from leading polling firms – usually close to the final result – will be released at 8pm on Sunday, with the official results being released later that night.

who is running

President Macron is seeking re-election, and while he’s comfortably ahead of the pack in polls, he faces a crowded field.

But of his 11 challengers, only four have double-digit poll numbers in the final days of the campaign.

The National Rally Marine LePen, who faced Macron in the second round in 2017, is likely to be heading for another runoff. She’s hinted that this presidential campaign will be her last — and it looks like she’s making it count. Her campaign, centered on the cost of living and economic hardship, struck a chord with skyrocketing energy prices caused by the Ukraine war. She has also managed to somehow sweep her long-standing support for Russian President Vladimir Putin under the rug, partially eclipsing her far-right rivals, TV pundits and politicians Eric Zemmour. The latter has championed an uncompromising anti-immigration stance and a socially conservative platform. Despite a poll surge in the fall, he has so far failed to outperform Le Pen, particularly among lower-income voters.

Among many left-leaning candidates, France Unbowed comes first Jean Luc Melenchonon the far left of the spectrum, is running for the third time and has campaigned for a fuel price freeze and an unchanged retirement age – posing as the polar opposite of Macron, who has announced plans to push through a long-awaited pension reform.

to the right, Valerie Pécresse, who was the first woman to stand for the conservative Les Républicains party, hasn’t really managed to pull the remnants of her party together – quite the contrary. She fended off several of her colleagues who had instead rallied around Macron and has yet to receive an official word of support from ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Other presidential hopefuls struggling to reach the 5 percent hurdle — which crucially triggers campaign fee reimbursements — are Green MPs Yannik Jadotsocialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Communist Fabian Rousselnationalist candidate Nicolas Dupont Aignanand Philippe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud, both representing anti-capitalist parties. Oh, and let’s not forget the fringe contender Jean Lasallewho stands out for his … rather cheesy antics on the campaign trail.

What happens between the two rounds?

Well, people are taking a little time to think. While the candidates usually schedule a series of campaign events at the eleventh hour, a big moment is the traditional televised debate, pitting the two finalists against each other. It is planned for 20.04.

The debate is usually considered one of the highlights of the campaign that will influence people’s votes popular with viewers. When Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen crossed swords on television in 2017, the far-right leader’s disastrous performance led to one steep descent in the polls and damaged their credibility on economic issues. Count on her coming better prepared this time.

The debate has been a tradition since 1974 but isn’t required by law — in 2002, Jacques Chirac refused to engage with far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, who had made it to a second round for the first time in The Upset Victory is still alive in France’s collective psyche.

Who has a real chance of winning?

Emmanuel Macron is expected to finish first on Sunday and, according to POLITICO polls, he is entering the second round with Le Pen likely to be his challenger again. But it may be premature to completely ignore a commotion anywhere down the line.

The French president entered the political arena at the last minute this year and his lackluster campaign has failed to get the sparks flying. Recent revelations about the state’s over-reliance on consulting firms have also weighed on his re-election.

As the gap between France’s head of state and Le Pen steadily narrows in the second round of voting in the closing stages of the campaign, Macron’s camp is trying to bolster his constituency with a little scaremongering. But there has yet to be a poll that suggests the president will lose.

Will people actually show up?

The French are usually fairly diligent voters, having achieved a turnout of around 80 percent in the last presidential election. But this year abstention is expected to be much higher as up to 30 percent of voters are expected to stay at home.

The French are worn down by the coronavirus crisis and the war in Ukraine. And the perception of Macron as the inevitable winner, as well as his low-key campaign, didn’t help. Both rounds also coincide with school holidays in different parts of the country.

For Macron, facing his greatest challenges from the far right and far left, voter apathy poses a threat of its own. Not only might it favor his electoral rivals, who can rely on motivated bases to lobby for them; it offers his opponents the opportunity to present his expected re-election as illegitimate.

Has Ukraine changed anything?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February has overshadowed the French presidential election campaign and explains why voter turnout is expected to be so low.

It benefited Macron in his early days, as far-right and far-left candidates had to explain or justify previous comments praising Putin, while the French president portrayed himself as a wartime leader who can protect Europe.

Overall, the war has shifted the political conversation in France from identity issues and COVID to energy and spending power – which is actually the most important issue for voters. That shift has tipped against Zemmour — whose Clash of Civilizations-based political platform seemed numb as people struggled to pay for gas — and in favor of Le Pen, who had advocated lowering the cost of living all along.

Why should I care ?

What is at stake is the name of the person who will rule France for the next five years and as such is likely to have a crucial influence on the EU. The election will also shape the country’s political landscape for years to come.

In 2017, the Socialist Party was shattered after Macron’s victory and has been struggling to rebuild on its ashes ever since – Anne Hidalgo is unlikely to garner more than 3 percent of the vote. Les Républicains – stuck between Macron, Zemmour and Le Pen – could suffer a similar fate after this election as the conservative party’s future is arguably at stake this time, all the more so if Valérie Pécresse scores below 10 per cent.

With neither party on the left expected to win, the questions for their six candidates are what the left will look like after the election, who will take the lead and whether the Greens are indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Zemmour and Le Pen’s respective results – and how easily they combine if either of them reaches the second round – could help shape the future of the far right, as many members of the National Rally, including Le Pen’s niece Marion Maréchal , who have joined the former TV Pandit. Any chatter about a possible alliance between Le Pen and Zemmour ahead of Round 2 is a must.

I heard there’s another election coming up… is that correct?

Yes. While parties have been bickering over constituencies, strategies and alliances for weeks, France’s political class is already preparing for the next electoral milestone: June’s general election, which will determine the majority in the National Assembly, or lower house of Parliament.

Voter turnout is traditionally lower in parliamentary elections also take place every five years. Voters tend to choose MPs from the same political family as the President they just elected.

Should Macron nevertheless win, it could prove more difficult to secure an outright majority in the National Assembly compared to 2017, as his potential victory looks set to be much narrower than it was five years ago. In the meantime, he must consolidate alliances with powerful internal rivals like heavyweight former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who is trying to expand his own political movement – dubbed Horizons.

Pauline de Saint Remy contributed to the coverage. How to Follow the French Presidential Election Like a Pro - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

Fry is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button