French Presidential elections: Names you need to know

French writer Gabriel Beltran throws in his two cents on the upcoming elections in his home country, and which parties and personalities to keep an eye out for.

Credit: Vincent Kessler

by Gabriel Beltran

As with the absurd US presidential race we witnessed throughout last year, the French presidential campaign has offered us quite a few surprises.

Marine Le Pen is the candidate who will, most likely, win the first round (yes, there are two rounds!) of the elections.

Many blame it on the media which have given her a huge platform to gain votes through her pro-French national rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies.  Others believe she has gained huge popularity by considering herself non-establishment – just like Trump – but that is not without irony since her father as well as her niece are both in politics.

There is also the conservative candidate Fillon who has been drowned in scandal, allegedly paying his wife taxpayer money as a parliamentary assistant over 15 years (no surprise there).

The second runner up after Le Pen is Emmanuel Macron, the liberal-democrat with the very pro-business program. People see him as a fresh face in politics, which is never a bad thing. Yet, Macron would give the keys of l’Elysee to the business elite of France and that’s exactly what we are trying to escape.

The socialist candidate Benoit Hammon is unlikely to get past the first round as he will not gain enough votes since the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon refuses to form an alliance. Hammon’s – not very – socialist party is tainted by Hollande’s five years in power.

Overall, it is a very messy and personal campaign which has been dragging on for quite a while now. We don’t know what to expect in this first round on April 23, but we definitely want it to be over.

Vive la République et Vive la France !

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