Will France have a new president?

Will France have a new president?

Daniil Nizamutdinov

There are 12 candidates running for the presidency in France, but few doubt that Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will make it to the second round. The Ukrainian topic has completely supplanted local news and confused the cards for the incumbent president. Voters have lost interest in politics, and many have not yet decided on their sympathies – so the results of the vote may well be surprising.
Former favorites, new layouts
The leaders of the campaign are obvious. Acco-rding to the IFOP-Fiducial poll, in the first round, Macron will receive 26.5 percent, Le Pen – 24. In third place is the representative of the left, the leader of the Unsubdued France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon: 17.5.
Center-right Republican candidate Valerie Pekress has a nine percent rating. Approximately the same number belongs to the founder of the Reconquista movement, the publicist of the extreme right views, Eric Zemmour. The rest have less than five percent.
So Macron and Le Pen will play the second round again – like five years ago.
The election campaign in France as a whole turned out to be extremely boring and colorless: no serious confrontation of ideas, only monotonous slogans that set the teeth on edge and sluggish correspondence debates. There are no high-profile scandals, and the endless wave of lockdowns and restrictions due to the coronavirus seems to have drained the interest of the French in politics. In addition, Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine completely ousted local news from TV screens and the front pages of magazines and newspapers.
Macron was by default the favorite of the race: it was assumed that in the fi-rst round he would receive more than 30 percent, confidently breaking away from all opponents. The advisers prepared a strategy in advance, according to which he entered the election campaign as late as possible, remaining above the fray. They say that the president is busy with more important matters – he leads the country and presides over the European Union. Therefore, Macron abandoned the debate and held only one campaign rally.
Meanwhile, as the voting day approached, the president was gradually losing ground, and the main competitor, Marine Le Pen, on the contrary, was gaining points. Experts attribute this to the fact that in a month and a half the French got tired of the Ukrainian agenda, and Macron’s mediation in resolving the conflict turned out to be, in general, unconvincing.
Ordinary voters are worried about rising prices for utilities, gasoline, food, falling purchasing power – and they have not received clear answers to these questions from the head of state. And, for example, such a significant topic for Europ-eans as the fight against climate change, and all green issues generally receded into the background.
Surprises due to no-show
According to the “macrometer” of the French think-tank Ifrap, in five years the President has realized only half of his campaign promises. Of course, this is largely due to the corona crisis. However, the dissatisfaction of citizens is an indisputable fact.
At the same time, voter turnout could be at an all-time low. According to various polls, up to a third of the French may not participate in the vote, although they usually went to the presidential elections very willingly. And many have not yet decided whom to support.
Such a massive failure to appear can affect the result. At Macron’s headquarters, this threat was recognized: at his only campaign rally, the president actively urged supporters to mobilize and recalled the Brexit referendum, which did not end as expected.
The political technologists of the Elysee Palace are trying to correct the image of the “leader of the elite”, the “statesman in the service of the rich”, which has developed among many, who rules as he sees fit, without listening to ordinary people. The main slogan of the campaign is Avec vous, “With you”. And again there are promises to complete the reforms, to ensure the security and prosperity of France and Europe.
Marine offensive
In the fall, France was shaken up by the nomination of the right-wing publicist Eric Zemmour: he soared in the polls and for a long time stepped on the heels of Marine Le Pen. Many even hastened to bet on him as the main candidate for the second round, but over time, attention to him weakened.
The head of the Île-de-France metropolitan region, Valerie Pecresse, made a sensation by winning the primaries of the respectable center-right Republican party (this is the “political family” of ex-presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy). She started well in the polls, somewhere near Zemmour and Le Pen, but then dropped to nine percent, almost losing her chances for a second round.
At the same time, it was Pekress, according to experts, who had the best chances against Macron, since the majority of the French will not support the “extreme right” Le Pen.
In fact, Marin has long been no longer extreme right. She distanced herself from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the National Front, who allowed himself racist and anti-Semitic statements. Renamed the party, pursues a much more restrained and moderate policy, emphasizing the preservation of French sovereignty, the protection of national interests and traditional values.
Judging by the polls, this is the right strategy: the gap from Macron is minimal. If in 2017 in the second round Le Pen lost with a score of 34:66, now, according to IFOP-Fiducial, she can get 48 percent with a statistical error of 1.4-3.1 percent (the study was conducted from April 4 to 7, covered 3010 respondents).
Unsubdued Mélenchon
Jean-Luc Mélenchon also has chances for the second round. Unlike Macron, the leader of the elites, the head of the “Unsubdued France”, like Le Pen, is perceived as a candidate from the people – only on the opposite political flank. For Mélenchon, this is the third attempt. In 2017, he performed very successfully, receiving 19.6 percent of the vote and losing quite a bit to Francois Fillon, the representative of the Republicans.
Despite his rather advanced age (he is 70), Melenchon, thanks to his talent as an orator and bright speeches, is able to attract people, including active, opposition-minded youth. Today, he leaves no chance for any of the other left-wing candidates at all.
The traditional left – the Socialist Party – is in deep crisis after Francois Holla-nde’s presidential five-year plan. There is no bright leader, and their candidate, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, shines with only two percent of the vote.
Who will win
Whether the second round will repeat the plot of five years ago depends on the results of the Sunday vote. The main question is how the votes of the supporters of the candidates who dropped out of the race will be distributed.
Pekress has already stated that in case of defeat she will not call for support of one or another applicant, however, she will inform whom she will put a tick for herself. And she also said that she would not enter the Macron government, because she did not intend to work with a president whose policies she did not share.
The majority of Zemmour’s voters should support Le Pen – if they go to vote. It is more difficult with Mélenchon’s supporters: there are ideological contradictions, but the protest electorate may well shift to the right – according to the principle “if only not for Macron.”
Be that as it may, for the undisputed favorite, the second round will not be as easy as in 2017. However, he himself is quite sure of victory.

The post Will France have a new president? appeared first on The Frontier Post.