French Presidential Elections

Presidential elections are big news today. First, the media speculation on Donald Trump’s candidature was horribly inaccurate and now the French presidential elections have captivated international commentators because of the high stakes.

The election process in France is rather simple considering countries like the USA, with a much more complicated process. Voters simply go to the polls in the first round to elect a President. If one candidate gets more than 50% of the votes polled, he is declared elected. If not, two candidates who have received the highest votes face off against each other in a second round. The winning candidate then is one who receives more votes in this round. In elections held this year on 23rd April no candidate received more than 50% of the votes and hence there will be re-polling on May 7th again.

The candidates this time around present a mixed bag, from the far right through to the far left. The first noteworthy candidate is the incumbent President Francois Hollande who is not considered a likely selection this time, as he has polled badly for years. His Socialist Party candidate Benoit Hamon is considered to be too far left for the common public.

The dark horse in this race has been Emmanuel Macron, the former Economy minister. With no political party backing him, he has struggled his way to the front and is now the lead contender after the first round with 23.86%. Centre-right candidate Francois Fillon has not made much impact with the French. Surprising many, Marine Le Pen the anti-EU leader of the Populist Front National at the far right of the spectrum, has surged over the others and has garnered 21.43 % of the votes in the first round.

Come May 7th, it will be a faceoff between the young Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. It might be a moment for the history books with a distinct possibility that the far right will win the elections for the first time in France’s Presidential history.