Update on the French Presidential Election

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Francois Fillon, Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons

On Nov. 27, former Prime Minister of France François Fillon, won the nomination for the French Republican party. Fillon was able to carry 69.6 percent of the vote versus the 31.4 percent won by his opponent, former Prime Minister of France Alain Juppe. The Republican victory marked the end of France’s first-ever conservative presidential primary. Alain Juppe was forced to concede.

Prior to Nov. 27, both Fillon and Juppe eliminated France’s former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the race for the nomination. Sarkozy carried 21.1 percent of the vote against Fillon’s 44 and Juppe’s 28.1 percent. After the election results in the first primary were publicized, Sarkozy chose to concede, dropping out of the race on November. 20. Sarkozy then prompted his supporters to vote for Fillon. Both Fillon and Juppe served as Prime Ministers under the Sarkozy Administration.

Fillon is running on a campaign that promises to “slash public spending, cap immigration, support traditional family values and reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Currently Fillon is set to be running against Marine Le Pen, presiding leader of the conservative National Front. Le Pen is running a campaign against globalism, uncontrolled mass immigration, Islamic fundamentalism, the French political elite and the European Union.

In an interview with CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Le Pen stated, “I think that the elites have lived too long among themselves. We are in a world where globalization, which is an ideology, has forgotten, and put aside the people, the people’s interests, aspirations, and dreams.”

If elected, Le Pen plans to hold a referendum to enable the possibility of a French exit from the European Union.

Although the current French president, François Hollande, has not made an official announcement for re-election, he has repeatedly been reported saying that he will seek re-election only if he is able to reduce the unemployment rate that has remained around 10 percent over the past few years.

So far, Hollande is perceived as the most unpopular president in French history, as revealed by an Elabe opinion poll in May 2016 indicating a 7 percent approval rating.

The Socialist Party primary is expected to take place this coming January. Hollande has until then to place his name on his party’s ticket. If Hollande chooses to run, his opponents could include the current Prime Minister Manuel Valls, as well as ex-Premiers Arnaud Montebourg and Benoît Hamon.

Another candidate for the French presidency is Emmanuel Macron. Previously Macron served as a former Economy Minister to current president Francois Hollande. According to Time Magazine, “The former investment banker for Rothschild Ltd. is expected to run as the head of ‘En Marche!’ (roughly meaning On the Move!), a centrist political party he created in April as a direct challenge to the Socialist Party’s Hollande.”

There are also additional independent candidates that are set to run for the presidency, such as the extreme leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, Greens nominee Yannick Jadot and other independent candidates.

The first round of elections will occur on April 23. If there is no clear winner to the first round of elections, a second election will occur on May 7.

 

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