With the French Presidential elections occurring on the 23rd April, the candidates have seemingly recently begun their campaigns, attempting to win over voters to elevate their quest for victory. With the USA and UK, amongst others, attaining new leaders with fresh ideologies in the past year, it seems France may also be driven in an innovative direction, as incumbent leader Francois Hollande recently announced his request to have another candidate from the PS Party run for leadership. With the opportunity for a successor seemingly arising, the various candidates seem to have been provided with an opportunity to implement, and achieve, their philosophies, and may be driven by the desire to amass a superior approval rating than Hollande’s current 4%.
According to the opinion polls, the current favourite is Marine Le Pen, nominee for the National Front, and the daughter of the party’s original founder. The 48 year old, who succeeded her father as leader, seems to be aiming to appeal to voters via her Nationalistic ideologies, seemingly utilising similar tactics which lead to both Donald Trump’s successful Presidential campaign and Britain’s exit from the European Union. Yet, she may simultaneously be in this aforementioned superior position due to her relaxing of the National Front’s political positions, surrounding aspects such as abortion and same-sex partnerships; this may enable her to amass a vaster support network whilst maintaining strong values. These firm principles may be part of the reason as to why she is ultimately among the candidates, and her gravitas and seemingly remarkable speaking ability may enable her to win the election.
Whilst Le Pen seems to be the current favourite, there seem to be other candidates possessing similar credentials, and capabilities, to lead France. Amongst these is Benoît Hamon, and his ideologies may be pivotal in attaining backing; his support of a basic income for all French citizens, along with advocating a 35 hour work week, may enable him to achieve this goal. Yet, other candidates seem to be superiorly positioned, including En Marche! leader Emmanuel Macron, whose desire for reform for both border control and secularism, seemingly summarised via the broad title of liberalism, may enable him to become President in his maiden voyage. Francois Fillon, nominee of the Republicans, has amassed previous political experience as Prime Minister of France during Sarkozy’s tenure as President, and utilising this may act as the catalyst in victory. Ultimately, the various candidates seem to have showcased the reasoning as to why they have amassed various degrees of support, and their innovative ideologies, and whether they support acts like Brexit, may impact their campaigns further.
The elections seem to provide an insight into the desires of the French people, and perhaps this is the most notable reason as to why Le Pen currently leads the opinion polls, as the wave of nationalism which has perhaps contributed to Britain and USA being driven in a fresh direction may act as the catalyst in a victorious quest for power. Yet, whilst the current polls may rule in favour of the FN, there seem to be predictions of a Macron victory in the second round of voting, with support averages ranging between 52-58%, which may suggest his support of an open door policy, which he believes aids the economy, may reflect productively in his campaign. These opinion polls may provide a reliable insight into the Presidential contest, as it may highlight the present desires of the French population, and may continuously impact the race as the candidates may need to be flexible, and alter their philosophies, in order to continue to attain votes.
Presently, it seems Le Pen may be superiorly equipped to win the election race, as her nationalistic principles may gain increased recognition due to the success of Brexit and Trump. Yet, the support of other candidates may suggest the population are united in their desire to achieve reform, and influence foreign policy in an industrious manner. With the votes seemingly smattered between the candidates, anyone may boast the credentials to emerge victorious, and this may ultimately benefit France, as any candidate’s tenure as President may result in an opportunity for the implementation of productive acts.
How may the candidates utilise the experiences of other European leaders to increase their appeal?