April 24, 2017
Emmanuel Macron (Independent) : 23.9 %
Marine Le Pen (Far Right): 21.4%
François Fillon (Conservative) : 19.9%
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Far Left): 19.6%
The first round of the French presidential election took place on Sunday 23rd April. Surely, the political earthquake represented by the qualification of the Independent candidate of En marche!, Emmanuel Macron, and that of the Front National, Marine Le Pen, will deserve a special place in the history of French politics.
Still unknown to the general public as recently as three years ago, the 39-year old Emmanuel Macron, who developed a political platform that was “neither right nor left”, and then “both right and left”, will remain as the most spectacular electoral breakthrough of the Fifth Republic. For the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, the extreme right has crossed the threshold of 20% in the first round of a presidential election.
The element that makes this election unique is the elimination in the first round of the two major parties of government, the Socialists and the Conservatives, that have divided power since 1958. The Socialist Party was crushed and its electorate was siphoned off by the radical left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon on one wing and by the social-liberalism of Emmanuel Macron on the other. On the right, the elimination of François Fillon is above all a personal defeat, that of a man besieged by revelations about his lifestyle, financial impropriety and no show jobs, who refused to withdraw despite the total loss of credibility within the electorate.
The other element of this election is the emergence of an alternative offer, or in some respect a ‘third way’, developed in their times by the likes of Bill Clinton in 1992 or Tony Blair in 1997.
The candidate who came first is also the one who has demonstrated the most pro-European stance. This positioning will surely be one of the keys to the second round, as Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen, who advocates the exit from the euro and the EU.
The second and final round of voting will take place on Sunday 7th May. For the Right and the Left, swept aside in the first round, the General elections, called in June, started yesterday evening.
The two selected candidates and the main aspects of their programmes are listed below:
(Independent) has obtained 23.9%
Deputy Secretary General of the French Presidency (2012-2014)
Minister of Economy (2014-2016)
has obtained 21.4 %
According to polls and vote transfers and calls for support, Emmanuel Macron is the favorite to win. However the contest is still very much open considering the powerful anti-establishment and sovereigntist vote in this election.