More uncertainties than ever in the French presidential election campaign

World 03:24 PM - 2021-11-09

The country of revolutions, beheading royals and a series of populist weekly protests, named ‘Yellow vests’ will vote in 6 months the successor of Emmanuel Macron. 

While the left-wing candidates struggle in polls and the far-right candidates gain more visibility in the French electorate, the president himself is leading the election polls.

The presidential elections in France in 2022 will elect the next president for the following 5 years. The first round will be held on Sunday, April 10 and the second round two weeks later on Sunday, April 24 between the two winning candidates of the first round. 

Emmanuel Macron himself could be the first president to be re-elected for a second term since Jacques Chirac in 2002. The currently ruling president started out from the center in 2017 as a banker with no experience in electoral politics and shifted over to the right-wing during his 5 years in power. He has overcome the socialist movement of the yellow vests and a worldwide pandemic and is today confident to outmaneuver a field of weak opponents. With 24% in the latest election polls for the first round Mr Macron is far ahead of the other candidates. 

At the moment, it is uncertain with whom Macron would be in the second round. The anti-immigration right-wing candidate Marine Le-Pen from the party Le Rassemblement National, the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, well-known for his anti-Semite and homophobic comments or the journalist and TV commentator Éric Zemmour compete in a neck-and-neck race with 15 to 17%. 

The last-named gains more and more attention in the medias although he didn’t even announce his official candidacy yet. On September 16, he published his last book with the title « La France n’a pas dit son dernier mot » (France hasn’t had its last words), which topped to the bestseller list on Amazon France with about 130 000 sold copies. He spreads his sexist and islamophobic ideas in a way that reminds us of Donald Trump, the former US president. 

On the left, there are other notable parties. The Socialist Party (6%) with the current Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has been popular in Paris because of her ecological attempts to get rid of cars in the Parisan city center and providing more cycle tracks. But she struggles to get votes outside of Paris. 

With almost 10% the far left party La France Insoumise impressed in 2017 with almost 20%, but this time their leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 70 years old, became old as his presidential campaign and less convincing. 

Last but not least, the Green Party who should rise up in the polls with the ongoing events is at very end of the list together with the Socialist Party. 

But political experts warn that it is too early to come to any conclusions yet, the polls and the surveys are not necessarily representative of the French population. The 2017 vote experienced the highest abstention rate (25%) since 1969. This election the left craves for support and the right and far right fight amongst themselves, the abstention rate could rise even more in 2022.

Even though that a big discrepancy exists between the population’s opinion and the sphere of media and professional politics, that has been shifting to the right. According to some media reports, voters who voted for Macron in 2017 would not vote for him again even if the opponent is from the far-right.

Reported by Julia Zimmermann

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