On April 10, France will vote to elect a new president for the next 5 years. The final list of candidates consists of twelve competitors. Of the twelve candidates, eight men and four women. Three of the six main candidates are from the right side of French politics, while two are from the left.
How does the election system work?
- The French head to the polls.
- If no candidate wins over 50% of the vote.
- A second round is organized. Only the two candidates with the most votes qualify for the 2nd round.
- The candidate with the majority of votes cast is elected and will take office on 13 May.
La République en Marche
Born : 21st December 1977 (Amiens, France)
Emmanuel Macron is a centrist, who founded his own party La République en Marche. Macron was formerly Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs under François Hollande’s presidency.
The French Democratic Party (La République en Marche), a pro-European movement, has been a member of the European parliamentary group Renew Europe since June 2019. The party was founded in April 2016 as a progressive political movement. The party is both socially and economically liberal in ideology by observers and political commentators. The party has also been labelled as anti-establishment, with populist tactics. The LREM campaign accepts globalization and aims to “modernize and moralize” French politics. The movement generally welcomes members from other political parties in France at a higher rate than other political parties.
The motto of Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign was “Recovery, power, belonging,” which he used to summarise his priorities as president of the European Union. Macron added, “I believe we must transition from a Europe of collaboration inside our borders to a Europe that is strong in the world, sovereign, free in its choices and controlling its fate,”
The French president also encouraged the EU to hold frequent political discussions on immigration, as eurozone nations already do on economic issues. “We need to guarantee the protection of our borders in Europe,” Macron said.
The French president has been calling for the EU to take charge of its security rather than relying on the US security umbrella it inherited since World War II.
Relations between the two nations have also been strained this year after the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia signed a new security agreement called AUKUS, which caused Australia to cancel its purchase of French submarines.
When Paris takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency next year, he added, France will propose a new EU mechanism to prevent imports of agricultural goods (Turning to environmental issues, he said France would propose a new EU mechanism to prevent imports of agricultural products from deforested areas when Paris takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency next year.
“We will also advance negotiations on creating a European instrument to fight against imported deforestation, which will aim to ban imports to the European Union of soya, palm oil, cocoa and coffee when they have contributed to deforestation,” Macron said.
Marine Le Pen
Rassemblement National (National rally)
Born: 5 August 1968 (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)
Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the National Front party in 1972. Marine Le Pen is the current president of the National Rally, and she is running for president for the third time.
The National rally is a far-right, Eurosceptic political party in France. The party is anti-immigration and anti-Islam, and it advocates for a stronger French identity.
The National Rally was formerly known as the National Front, but the party changed its name in June 2019. Marine Le Pen sought to de-demonize the party by removing its dark image. She attempted to detach it from its far-right cultural roots and rebrand it with a culture of government and expelling notorious members like her father, who was banned from the party in 2015.
Jean-Marie Le Pen ran on a law-and-order platform with zero tolerance, harsher penalties, increased jail capacity, and a public referendum to reinstate the death penalty.
The party has called for Non-European immigration to be reduced. Marine Le Pen warned that wearing full-face veils is only “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of the Islamization of French culture.
Marine Le Pen has been far more explicit in her defence of protectionism and has slammed globalism and capitalism for certain sectors.
La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France)
Born: 19 August 1951 (Tangier, Morocco)
Jean-Luc Melenchon is a far-left politician running for president for the first time. He is the founder of the party La France Insoumise.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon is a socialist republican who was inspired by Jean Jaurès (the founder of French republican socialism).
He has argued for stronger labour rights and the expansion of French social welfare programmes. Mélenchon has also called for a broad distribution of wealth to correct existing socioeconomic gaps.
Mélenchon’s domestic policies include a 100 per cent income tax on incomes exceeding €360,000 per year, complete state reimbursement for health care expenses, a reduction in presidential powers in favour of the legislature, and an easing of immigration restrictions.
He backs same-sex marriage and abortion rights for women. He is also in favour of cannabis legalization.
Mélenchon is a vocal opponent of the European Union (EU), which he believes has been tainted by neoliberalism.
He took a stand against the trend toward economic globalisation, which he condemned as disproportionately benefitting “high-income earners” at the expense of the poor. The EU, according to him, threatened to “strangle the voice of the people.”
He is opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which he sees as a violation of France’s national sovereignty. He has called for France to leave NATO on several occasions.
Mélenchon has expressed his backing for Rattachism. Rattachism is a minor political idea that calls for the French-speaking portion of Belgium, known as Wallonia, to secede from Belgium and join France.
Les Républicains (The Republicans)
Born : 14 July 1967 (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)
Valérie Pécresse is a centre-right politician running for president as a Les Républicains candidate. They’re a conservative party that has also been called “liberal-conservative” due to its liberal views. Furthermore, they preserve a Gaullist tradition, including Christian democracy.
On 4 December 2021, she won the Republican nomination in the final round of balloting with 61 per cent of party members’ votes, becoming the first woman to be chosen.
Pécresse took part in several demonstrations opposing same-sex marriage and LGBT parenting between 2012 and 2013, notably organized by La Manif pour tous.
Pécresse pledged to reveal sexist remarks, indecent gestures, and sexual behaviour.
Pécresse wants to take a more cautious approach to immigration, which she views as a “major societal problem.” She argues that the number of people who can enter each year should be limited and that the conditions for receiving a residence permit, such as having “sufficient funds,” “comprehension of the French language,” and “respect for secularism and Republic values,” should be more strict.
Pécresse stated: “She wants to cut social benefits for people who have been in France for less than five years.
Pécresse pushed for lifting restrictions on facial recognition and adopting artificial intelligence to counter-terrorism on public transport networks after the murder of Samuel Paty.
Born: 31 August 1958 (Montreuil, France)
Eric Zemmour is a journalist and author running for president as an independent candidate. His main campaign issue is the preservation of French culture.
The Reconquête (Reconquest) party is a far-right, nationalist political party in France. The party is anti-immigration and anti-Islam, and it advocates for a stronger French identity. Zemmour pledged to “slash immigration to almost zero,” expel people who had unsuccessfully sought asylum and remove France from NATO’s integrated command. Zemmour assured his listeners that he would do all within his power.
Improved public education levels, lower taxes for the majority of French people, and increased economic competitiveness.
Reconquete’s goal is to create a “country score” that would indicate whether or not a product is French.
Zemmour has backed the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, but he claims France’s position was different. Instead, he had stated his standpoint as “I want France to be in Europe, but I want it to come first before the EU” and promised to obstruct any future EU expansion initiatives.
The party seeks to prohibit the wearing of the Islamic veil in public. The Reconquista Party wants to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated organizations.
Born: 27 July 1967 (Clacy-et-Thierret, France)
Yannick Jadot is a French politician co-leader of the Europe Ecology – The Greens. He is running for president as a Green party candidate.
The ecologist party is a centre-left French political party with pro-European views created in September 2015.
The formation of this party was prompted by the decision taken by EELV ( The Greens) to form political alliances with the Left Front. The objective was to establish a centre-left reforming party that accepted globalization and the market economy, and President François Hollande. The founders wanted to become a firm ally of the Socialist Party and attract supporters from EELV or the Democratic Movement.
Yannick Jadot worked as an environmentalist and humanitarian. He spent Burkina Faso working with people who IMF structural adjustment initiatives had destabilized. Then served two years in Bangladesh, assisting through micro-credit programs for women victims of poverty in a violent patriarchal culture. Between 2002 and 2008, Jadot directed Greenpeace actions in France.
He has gained a reputation for fighting for climate justice and against free trade agreements for more than ten years.
Born: 19 June 1959 (San Fernando, Spain)
Anne Hidalgo is the mayor of Paris and running for president as a Socialist candidate. The Socialist party is a centre-left political party in France.
The socialists are a social-democratic party that advocates for democratic socialism, characterised by the belief that society should own and control the means of production and government regulation of the economy. The socialists aim to establish equality and solidarity among all citizens while preserving individual liberty.
Anne Hidalgo was the first woman to be elected mayor of Paris.
She was born in San Fernando, Spain, on 19 June 1959. Her father was a civil servant, and her mother was a teacher. She has two sisters. Hidalgo studied at the University of Madrid, earning a law degree in 1982.
In 1992, she was appointed as Deputy Mayor of Paris, responsible for Women’s Rights, Youth, and Associations. In 2001, she became the First Deputy Mayor of Paris, and in 2014, she was elected mayor of Paris.
Hidalgo took a stance in the discussion on cults in France, becoming president of a vigilance committee against them at the Council of Paris. She was particularly opposed to the Church of Scientology and New Acropolis, and she attended a protest outside the Church of Scientology’s headquarters.
Hidalgo implemented the “Paris Breathes” plan, which included restricting all cars from certain parts of Paris on the first Sunday of each month and making public transport and the city’s bike and electric vehicle systems free to combat air pollution in the city. She also worked towards reducing car usage by raising parking meter prices.
Hidalgo’s mayorship, Paris has built 7,000 social housing units each year, up from 5,000 under her predecessor. By 2030, she wishes for Paris to have 30% social housing.
Born: 16 April 1969 (Béthune, France)
Fabien Roussel is a French Left-Wing politician who is the national secretary of the French Communist Party. He is running for president as a Communist party candidate.
The Communist Party (PCF) has been known for its staunch opposition to capitalism, which it must “overcome” because, according to the PCF, the capitalist system is “exhausted” and “on the verge of collapse.” The PCF has seen the present course of globalization as confirming Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s prediction that capitalism would proceed to globalize. The party believes that the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the Great Recession have increased its calls for a transition to socialism.
Fabien Roussel became involved with the Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France (MJCF) to protest against apartheid in South Africa and lobbied for the release of Nelson Mandela.
Roussel proposes raising the minimum wage to 1,500 Euros after-tax and lowering the workweek to 32 hours while decreasing the retirement age to 60.
Born: 3 May 1955 (Lourdios-Ichère, France)
Jean Lasalle is a farmer and Independent candidate. His main campaign issue is the defence of French farmers.
Jean Lassalle began a trek of France on foot in 2013, travelling 6,000 kilometres over nine months to interact with his fellow citizens.
“Sensing that France was wavering, I decided to hit the road. To walk again to meet those who had turned away from politics. With humility but with determination. Listen to them, try to re-establish a dialogue to rebuild the essential bonds of trust that had broken under the weight of the change in the world that we were experiencing. Walk to hear, walk to understand, walk to live again, and no longer be alone. I wanted to listen to people while posing an act of resistance. I wanted to talk to all the compatriots who would like to. It was then that I launched the Cahiers de l’espoir to collect the intuitions and aspirations of our compatriots. This initiative,(Jean Lassalle). https://resistons-france.fr/resistons-le-mouvement-de-jean-lassalle/
He said, “Everywhere I travelled, I saw a crisis in people’s lives, a loss of sense of common purpose, and cultural disintegration”. He found the state of affairs to be just as bad in towns as in rural areas.
Lassalle went on a 39-day hunger strike in opposition to planned job cuts in his constituency. Toyal, a Japanese business that owned a paint factory near Accous and employed 150 of Lassalle’s constituents, announced its intention to build a plant 60 kilometres distant. On April 14, after nearly two months on strike, Toyal gave the interior minister a guarantee that the factory would not be closed. Throughout the strike, Lassalle had lost 21 kilograms (46 lb).
Lassalle stated in early 2022: “As things stand, Macron will be reelected. The financial powers that have taken control of our nation have already decided that.”
In 2016, Jean Lassalle and his travelling companions established the Résistons movement! The purpose of the Résistons movement is to resist a way of life that has imposed itself on us and continues to break our society little by little. The economic recession. Individualism is on the rise. Hope springs from resistance!
Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle)
Born: 23 February 1970 (Peyrins, France)
Nathalie Arthaud is a French trade unionist and politician who is the spokesperson for Lutte Ouvrière. She is running for president as a candidate of the Workers’ Struggle party.
Lutte Ouvrière is a Trotskyist political party in France. It was founded in 1945 by former members of the French Communist Party who had been expelled for their opposition to the Soviet Union’s control over the French Communist Party.
Arthaud’s main campaign issues are:
- Against layoffs and factory closures
- For workers’ control of businesses
- Against all austerity measures
- For the nationalization of banks and large companies
Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (Anti-capitalist)
Born: 14 March 1967 (Villemomble, France)
Philippe Poutou is a trade unionist who is the secretary-general of the New Anticapitalist Party. He is running for president as a candidate of the New Anticapitalist Party.
The New Anticapitalist Party (French: Parti anticapitalist, PAC) is a far-left French political party founded in 2009. The stated objective is to “provide a new socialist, democratic perspective for the twenty-first century.” Party will be “the left that fights anticapitalist, internationalist, antiracist, ecologist, feminist struggles and opposes all forms of prejudice.”
Philippe Poutou said he would amnesty all “political prisoners” if elected, such as members of the FLNC and ETA, and criticized France’s “colonial attitude” in both Corsica and The Basque Country.
Philippe Poutou was a trade unionist and employee of an automobile plant. Philippe Poutou served as secretary-general of the General Confederation of Labor at Ford Motor Company. He was a key player in negotiations with the firm over the potential termination of 2,000 jobs; he also served as a union spokesperson to the press.
His message was that workers’ rights would improve due to their struggles and demands rather than the ballot box.
Poutou supported and engaged in the yellow vests movement, which formed part of the broader demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron. It was “the expression of a fed up with a society that is deeply unjust”.
Debout la France (France Arise)
Born: 7 March 1961 (Paris, France)
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is the leader of the right-wing political movement “France Arise” (“Stand up for France”). He describes himself as “neither a part of the system nor an extremist,”.He is a Gaullist who emphasizes the value of state sovereignty.
Debout la France was founded by Nicolas Dupont-Aignan on 18 February 2013. The party defends “the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity” and is eurosceptic. It calls for a referendum on France’s membership in the European Union.
Dupont-Aignan was a member of the National Assembly of France from 1997 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2017. He was the mayor of Yerres from 1995 to 2001.
He proposes that France cancels the Schengen agreement and reinstates national border controls. He advocates for France to take a prominent role in the reconstruction of Syria and Iraq. He backs establishing a viable Palestinian state but insists that all Middle Eastern nations recognize Israel.
Dupont-Aignan said, “If France does not protect its borders, it will be invaded. … We must close our borders since we are overcrowded: this is an invasion, and I do not use the term lightly.”
Dupont-Aignan aims to remodel the European Union or reclaim our freedom. Dupont-Aignan wants to transform the European Union into a “Community of the European States,” which would enable any nation to create groups around big proposals for the future.
He also wishes to “put an immediate stop to Turkey’s accession process to the European Union.”