It doesn’t seem like many Americans are paying much attention to the French Presidential Election. It may seem like nothing to blink at when it comes to American politics and the current political climate. Yet, there is a reason for Americans to pay attention to the French election, much like the rest of the world pays very close attention to the United States during its election process.
France is still a part of the European Union (EU), is the second largest economy in the EU, and the United State’s third-largest trading partner, meaning a lot of France’s decisions could influence much of the rest of Europe and much of the United States.
The U.S. and France have been on fairly decent terms and have frequently referred to each other as being the “oldest ally”. France and the U.S. have been allied in many military actions, including bombing ISIS locations in 2014. Put simply, France and the United States work together on
The election coming up in France seems to echo the recent election in the United States, with political outsiders and a far right candidate in the running.
The way the French conduct their elections is just a little unlike the United States’ method. There are two voting periods in the French election. The first round, set for April 23, allows the French people to vote for whichever candidate is running. Currently, there are five candidates. Assuming that any of these candidates do not achieve more than 50% of the votes (which has never happened since voting began in the 1960s), the second round of votes will begin on May 7, where the candidates with the highest amount of votes from April’s voting period, will move on for one final vote.
Of the five candidates, polls currently show two major front-runners: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Though they are considered front-runners, the race is still close. As of April 18, polls show Macron leading among voters at 23%, with Le Pen coming in close behind at 22%. Conservative Francois Fillion is not too far behind in polls, with 19.3%. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is closing a very narrow gap as well, with 19.1% among voters.
Macron, who is mostly an outsider in the realm of politics, is running under the “En Marche!” party. En Marche is described as being socially liberal, but ultimately central in the world of politics. Macron is praised for being “down to earth”. While Macron did work under president Francois Hollande, he was still mostly unknown to the political world, and he uses this to his advantage. Macron’s platform includes a shift away from coal, and an investment in renewable, clean energies.
Le Pen can be described as Macron’s antithesis. Marine Le Pen is daughter to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder and former leader of her party: The Front National party. Much like Jean-Marie Le Pen was known for his blatant racism, Marine is known for her anti-immigration, anti-Muslim rhetoric and other right-wing ideologies. Le Pen’s platform includes closure of “extremist” mosques, and deportation of illegal immigrants, as well as cuts to immigration.
Most of the candidates seem to have some kind of platform or message to deal with unemployment, fixing the economy, or making certain deals to increase income for low-income workers. The far-left candidate Melenchon campaigns on the idea of “zero homelessness”.
Many who are noticing similar trends of the 2017 U.S. Presidential election in the French election, see Le Pen as a threat and hope that the French people “make the right choice”.
This story is not under-reported, yet it is important to understand how the elections in other countries take place, what is at stake for those countries, and what it could mean for the future. Take a look at these articles on the French election.
The Candidates of the 2017 French Election
“Marie Le Pen: Taking French National Front to new highs and lows”
Recent Polls show Macron’s lead
Candidate Fillon’s Wife involved in jobs scandal.
Voters speak on what they want in a President
Voters believe in “protesting” election by not voting