Here are the facts and a short breakdown of each candidate in the upcoming French Election:
1. The Election Starts on 4/23/17
Polls open up at approximately 6 AM on Sunday, April 23, 2017.
2. How a French Election Works
Unlike an American Election, the French election is completely dependent on the vote of every single vote by a French citizen. A candidate must receive at least 50% of the popular vote to be elected President.
However, the playing field is much larger in a French Election as compared to an American one. That said, it is very tough for a single candidate to get 50% of the vote; instead, the frontrunner typically sits at half the percentage needed to win.
So, if none of the candidates receive 50% of the popular vote in round one, the election goes into a round two. This runoff, which will take place on May 7, 2017, will feature the two top vote-getters in round one in a head-to-head battle for the Presidency. The candidate with the majority of votes in the runoff is officially elected President of France.
3. 11 Running Candidates; 4 With a Shot of Winning
The large playing field we mentioned in fact #3 is 11 candidates strong, 4 of which are considered the major players to win the election. Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon, and Jean Luc Melenchon are the four candidates that are in the mix to make it to the runoff.
The sheer number of candidates prove of earlier point of how hard it is to reach that 50% in the popular vote.
4. Major Topics in the Election
There are two major topics the French are concerned about and will voice their opinions on the topics with their vote:
- Security: France has seen their country continually attacked by radical Muslims, leaving many people hopeless that the government can protect its own people with the current measures in place. Also, France has been in a constant state of emergency since the Fall of 2015, affecting the daily lives of an everyday Frenchman. Tourism is down, also, due to the constant security threat. Most candidates are planning to increase security.
- The European Union: After the shocking Brexit vote in Great Britain, French citizens are reconsidering their spot in the European Union. Their participation in the EU has led to an economic downturn to go along with a large swarm of migrants that have been nothing but an economic burden on the country. The candidates are specifically split on this issue, but the upcoming vote should determine what side many citizens are on.
Recent polls conducted by major news outlets have shown Emmanuel Macron leading with Marine Le Pen only a small percentage behind. The polls have also shown that Francois Fillon and Jean Luc Melenchon are behind, but still in the mix.
Of course, these polls do not sample the entire French population. The door is still wide open for any candidates to take the top two spots.
6. U.S. Presidents are Voicing Their Favored Candidates
As expected, former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump have seemed to find their favored candidates in the French Election.
Mr. Obama’s choice is Emmanuel Macron. Both are progressives with a pro-globalism approach to foreign affairs. They even spoke on the phone the other day:
Mr. Trump’s choice is Marine Le Pen, who has been dubbed the “Female version of Trump” by many. Her France-first attitude matches President Trump’s America-First attitude.
Breakdowns of Each Candidate
To finish the final four facts, here are the breakdowns of the four candidates running for the office of Presidency:
Mr. Macron is a self-described centrist with many globalist and progressive beliefs. After failing to find a political party that matched his beliefs, Mr. Macron created his own party and is the only member.
Mr. Macron’s plan is to decrease corporate taxes, increasing funding for defense and police forces, and decreasing labor costs.
Other Notes: Emmanuel Macron is married to his former high school teacher and is a former investment banker.
Comparison: Barack Obama
Marine Le Pen
Mrs. Le Pen is part of the National Front party, a political party created by her father with extreme anti-Semitic and xenophobic sentiment. Marine Le Pen took over the party and immediately booted her father from it and transitioned to a less controversial party based on a France-first approach.
Mrs. Le Pen’s plan is to reduce immigration, aggressively fight Radical Islam, and leave the European Union and NATO.
Comparison: Donald Trump
Mr. Fillon is from the French Republican Party. Therefore, many of his beliefs are conservative in nature.
Mr. Fillon’s plan is to reduce immigration, end the 35-hour work week, and cut public spending.
Other Notes: Multiple members of the Fillon family were caught in a scandal in which they were paid for jobs they did not even show up to. This hurt Mr. Fillon’s numbers for some time, but he was able to quickly recover and get back into the thick of the race.
Comparison: Margaret Thatcher
Jean Luc Melenchon
Mr. Melenchon is considered a communist by many. He is part of the Left Front Party that attracts many former communists and aging revolutionaries.
Mr. Melenchon’s plan is to raise the minimum wage and raise taxes on the rich. Sound familiar?
Comparison: Bernie Sanders