by Graham Pierrepoint
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 18 months, it’s hard to ignore the fact that there seems to have been a shift in the way that people are voting, and the things that people are voting for. Donald Trump outran Hillary Clinton to become US President and the UK voted to leave the European Union – two tumultuous world events that could shape our planet for considerable time to come – and two that, perhaps, may not have come to fruition four or five years ago. In any case, the world is changing – and many are concerned that this could mean far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen may succeed Francois Hollande as French President this May.
The French elections have been fraught with drama and intrigue – Le Pen has consistently been seen as the outsider, opting a hardline right-wing stance on immigration, Islam and protecting France as a nation – some policies looking to be quite popular in light of the spate of terror attacks the country has endured in the past 18 months. The previous favorite to win the Presidency, Francois Fillon, has fallen back in the race after scandals regarding tax money allegations hit the conservative candidate hard only months ahead of the final vote. Fillon is still fighting these allegations – and with just over a month to go until the first round of election voting – April 23rd, when all candidates in the field will be whittled down to two – some experts claim that Le Pen has more of a chance of seizing the top job than she had some months ago.
All hope for those more to the middle, however, is not lost. Independent candidate and firebrand Emmanuel Macron, who has emerged as something of a wildcard in this election, is gradually gathering steam. He has previously worked with Francois Hollande but is emerging with his own party and campaign, and is appealing very strongly to centrists, left-wing voters and, surprisingly, conservatives. It is thought that anyone to the left of Le Pen may consider voting Macron in – and polls currently suggest he is at the front of the pack.
Polls also show that Le Pen’s National Front may likely make the second and final round of voting, particularly as Fillon’s affairs seem to have cut deeply into his campaign chances. Macron, however, is going from strength-to-strength – will we see more political upset in France on May 7th? We will be sure to keep you informed.