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The vote to watch: possible movers and shakers in the 2017 French presidential poll


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The vote to watch: possible movers and shakers in the 2017 French presidential poll

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As international politics begins to turn on its head, next year’s French presidential election has been dubbed the one to watch.

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, launched his bid for the presidency with the promise of a democratic revolution if he succeeds.

The former Economy Minister quit the Socialist government in August, 2016 and will run as head of the centrist ‘En Marche’ movement he created in April.

“I’ve witnessed from the inside the vacuousness of our political system, which prevents the majority of ideas on the grounds that they weaken the political machinery, the traditional parties and acquired interests, which no longer pursue the common good, but rather their own interests,” Macron said as he announced his intention to run.

His movement now has an estimated 97,000 members and has received some 2.7 million euros in donations.

But, while popular, there are fears he won’t be able to garner the financial support needed for a successful presidential campaign. He has also yet to give precise details of his policies.

There are also worries his candidacy will split the left-wing vote, thus preventing any leftist candidate or Macron from reaching the second round on May 7, 2017.

Marine Le Pen

Leader of the far-right National Front Party Marine Le Pen is widely-tipped to make it through to the second round of the presidential vote. If so, she will enter a run-off with just one other candidate to take France’s top political spot.

At the opening of her party’s headquarters, Le Pen drew parallels with the growing anti-establishment sentiment Europe- and worldwide and the victory of outsider Donald Trump in the 2016 US election.

“We have here a worldwide movement. A worldwide movement which rejects unchecked globalisation, destructive ultra-liberalism, the turning of populations against each other, the elimination of nation states,” she said.

The new HQ, which is housed on the same street at the Elysée presidential palace, has been confidently named L’Escale (The Stopover).

Le Pen is running under a new logo of a blue rose, which she says is associated with both the left- and right-wing.

Why this blue rose? Which seems a little rebellious, in some ways. In the language of flowers, he blue flower means making the impossible possible, to reach the unreachable,” Le Pen explained.

“This campaign, this election, this victory in the presidential election is presented by the entire political an media establishment as impossible.”

Her campaign will officially be launched in February, 2017.

Alain Juppé and Nicolas Sarkozy

Once one of the most loathed politicians in France, Alain Juppé is now one of the most popular. The Mayor of Bordeaux and former Foreign Minister under Nicolas Sarkozy will run head-to-head against his old boss for the backing of the conservative Republicans party.

Juppé is campaigning on a pro-Europe, centrist platform which resonates with Macron’s policies and has positioned himself to the left of his main rival, Sarkozy.

The former president has sought to gain the populist vote by criticising EU policy and current President François Hollande’s record on security and immigration, as France remains under a state of emergency following a series of militant Islamist attacks.

However, his bid took a hit on Tuesday (November 15) amid fresh allegations he had received millions of euros in illegal financing from the regime of the late Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator.

The Republicans’ primaries are to be held on November 20, with a possible runoff on November 27, 2016.

François Hollande and Manuel Valls

Neither Hollande – France’s most unpopular post-war leader – nor his Prime Minister Manuel Valls have declared whether they’ll enter the presidential race.

However, the president is widely expected to back Valls if he doesn’t run for re-election.

Arnaud Montebourg, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann and Benoît Hamon

Three people have declared an intention to run for the Socialist Party, among them two former ministers.

Arnaud Montebourg, another former Economy Minister under Hollande also ran in the 2012 presidential contest.

National Assembly member and former Minister of National Education Benoît Hamon and Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, a member of the Senate for Paris, will also compete for the backing of the Socialists.

Yannick Jadot

The Greens, like the National Front, have already selected their candidate.

Yannick Jadot will appear on the ballot paper in the first round on April 23, 2017.

The MEP beat his rival Michèle Rivasi 54.25 percent to 40.75 percent in the second round of the party’s primaries.

He now faces the mammoth task of uniting an electorate containing a large number of people who claim not to even see the point of his party’s candidacy.

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