By Ryan Chou
In slightly over one year, France will hold its democratic elections to decide the next president. Although it is still relatively early, the candidate pool is establishing itself, and things are currently shaping up to be a repeated Macron vs. Le Pen showdown- if Macron announces a re-election bid.
Most recently, a poll conducted in early March by Harris Interactive showed that when it comes to the first round, incumbent president Emmanuel Macron and alt-right leader Marine Le Pen are still pulling away from the rest of the pack, with Macron earning 26% of French voters’ support and Le Pen achieving a close 25%. Although none of the other candidates come truly close to the two powerhouses, leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon and right-winger Valerie Pecresse are notably the only two other candidates hitting double digits in the polls at 11% and 12% respectively.
Although the first round points to a tight race between Macron and Le Pen, not much can be said with regards to what will happen in the second round, when the president-elect will actually be decided. The first round in 2017 was also a close showdown between the two, with Macron reaching 24% of the vote and Le Pen receiving 21%. However, Macron ended up consolidating almost all of the excess support and won in a landslide with 66% of the popular vote compared to Le Pen’s 34%. So, although things look close now, it may be deceiving depending on what happens closer to the election.
Taking a look at the two most prominent parties in France as of now, the Le Republique En Marche and the National Rally party have some very contrasting beliefs. For example, while Macron’s En Marche party embraces globalization, Le Pen’s National Rally party is not only against globalism, but supports nationalism. Although not a perfect comparison, in terms of American Politics, Macron is Joe Biden while Le Pen is Donald Trump.
It will be interesting to see what happens next year when France picks a new president. France has a habit of hating its president, even if they won in a landslide, which is shown by Macron’s 59% disapproval rating. So even though he won big the first time, it doesn’t mean he will again if he chooses to run.