France approaches election D-day

By Scoop
April 14, 2022 · less than 3 min read

With the final two candidates set to compete for the French presidency, Europe braces for a chaotic two weeks.  

And in the blue corner… 

The results of the first round of the French presidential elections were revealed on Sunday, and confirmed that in a repeat of the 2017 election, the incumbent centrist – and staunchly pro-EU figure – Emmanuel Macron will face off against the far-right, anti-EU firebrand, Marine Le Pen.  

The results were no real surprise. The two candidates have long been France’s most popular political figures, and despite a late rally from far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the two will go head-to-head once again in an election with potentially huge ramifications for France – and Europe. 

Two elections? 

That’s right – two. Almost all French elections have two rounds. The first is a political free-for-all where everybody votes for their preferred candidate. Pierre from the next block down – why not? But only the two most popular candidates go through to the second, and ultimately decisive, round. Sorry, Pierre.  

Although not officially designed as such, the two-round system was intended to keep certain extreme parties out of the equation, but having successfully breached this firewall three times since 2000, far-right parties are inching closer and closer to the Élysée.  

There’s one trick yet up the sleeve for the demolished left-wing of France, though. All but extinct at the political level, they’re calling for ‘the republican front’ to block the far-right from power. This move would see millions of voters sweep to Macron’s aid to ensure he wins the election, rather than Le Pen. But with the polls looking super tight, it’s going to be a close call.  

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