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The French Presidential election 2017 (second round)

Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What are the implications of the 2017 French Presidential Election? What are the prospects for a Marine Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron victory? This paper looks at the candidates, their policies and the future challenges they might face should they win.

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First round results

In a historic result, Emmanuel Macron, leader of the newly formed centrist party En Marche! (EM) and Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the nationalist far-right Front National (FN), topped the first round of voting in the election for President of the French Republic on April 23 2017. They gained 24% and 21% of the vote respectively.

This is the first time since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958 that the candidates from neither the established party of the centre right (Les Républicains) nor the centre left (Parti Socialiste) reached the Second Round. Voting for the second round will take place on 7 May 2017.

The election campaign has so far focused on issues such as identity, security and terrorism, economic reforms both in the private and public sectors, political renewal and France’s place in Europe.

Macron's policies

Mr Macron promises economic reform, lowering taxes on companies and low paid workers, and making reductions in the numbers of civil servants and state spending. However, he has promised to preserve many of the benefits of France’s social welfare programmes.

Le Pen's policies

Ms Le Pen puts matters of identity and security at the forefront of her programme. She too has promised to keep many of the social protections French citizens enjoy and will increase them in some cases, advocating reducing the minimum retirement age from 62 to 60.

The second round

Polls currently suggest that Mr Macron is the most likely to win the Presidency, but also that Ms Le Pen will significantly outperform her father’s run as candidate for the FN when he reached the second round in 2002 and achieved just under 18% of the vote.

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