Wednesday

25th Apr 2018

French campaign ends in uncertainty and fear

  • Several candidates have cancelled their last meeting in the wake of an attack on Paris’s Champs-Elysées, on Thursday evening, in which a policeman was killed. (Photo: cedric.chan)

The official campaign for Sunday’s presidential election in France will end on Friday evening (21 April) in a climate of political uncertainty and fears of terror attacks.

Several candidates cancelled their last meeting in the wake of an attack on Paris’s Champs-Elysees Thursday evening, in which a policeman was killed.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Around 9:00 pm a man opened fire on a police van parked on the French capital landmark avenue, killing one officer and injuring two others. A passer-by was also slightly injured. The attacker was killed by other policemen.

The area was sealed off for several hours with dozens of people locked up in shops, restaurants and cinema around the Champs Elysees.

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has claimed the attack and French president Francois Hollande said that he was convinced that the attack was of “terrorist nature”.

He said that French security services would show “utmost vigilance” ahead of Sunday’s vote.

The Paris shooting came two days after two men were arrested in Marseille, in southern France, who were suspected of planning an “imminent” attack.

Several candidates had been put under special protection, with conservative candidate Francois Fillon apparently a target of the two suspected terrorists.

France has been under a state of emergency, granting special powers to the police and thousands of military on the street, since the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015.

The Champs Elysees attack took place while the 11 candidates to Sunday’s first election round were on television, in a live show where each of them talked for 15 minutes to present their programme.

The show continued despite the incident, leading to a strange situation, where TV news channels were showing the heart of Paris sealed off under a terror scare, while the main public broadcasters were still airing the political candidates talking about issues, one of which was the “events going on in Paris”.

‘The fight against terrorism must be the priority of the next president,” said Fillon.

‘To be president is to protect. I want to protect you. I am ready,” said independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, while radical left Jean-Luc Melenchon promised that “criminals will never remain unpunished and their accomplices will never be forgotten”.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen insisted that “all is not done to protect our fellow citizens” and that she would put an end to “permissiveness” and “naivety”.

Two days before the vote these four candidates remain neck to neck in opinion polls, in a race where no one is assured a spot in the second round on 7 May.

The latest polls put Macron ahead of Le Pen, Fillon and Melenchon, but only between 23-24 and 18-19 percent of the votes, respectively, which remain in the margin of error. About 25 percent of voters are still uncertain of their vote.

The race is so close that pollsters now consider the possibility that they will not be able to give the names of the two second round runners at 8:00 pm on Sunday, as is usually the case.

With many voting stations closing at 7:00 pm, the pollsters may not have enough time to analyse exit polls fully, if the margins between each candidate are too close.

“We could, for example, show three faces” instead of two, Frederic Dabi from the Ifop polling institute, told France Info.

French candidates clash on EU visions

The eleven candidates in the French presidential elections aired competing EU visions in a TV debate, with the far-right Le Pen coming under fire.

European right hopes Macron will save France

With Fillion all-but out of the election, a senior European politician said "committees" are working on what to do if Le Pen wins and takes France out of the EU.

Analysis

France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote

Tactical votes could still bring down either of the two favourites in France on Sunday in a nervous election seen as crucial for the future of the EU.

EU: 'Keep Calm', as Italy struggles to form government

Both the leaders of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League party claim the position of Italian prime minister, amid renewed eurosceptics remarks while Europe is waiting for a stable government.

Italy votes to become more eurosceptic

A hung parliament is expected, as preliminary results show a good outcome for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League.

Opinion

The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.

Far-right parties re-register to access EU funds

After missing a funding deadline, the far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom and the Alliance of European National Movements are back in the game and possibly eligible for EU money in 2019.

News in Brief

  1. UN expects over $4bn in pledges for Syria
  2. Commission wants more public data made available for reuse
  3. Study: Brexit will hit all European farmers
  4. European media face rise in 'verbal violence' from politicians
  5. Greenland PM to keep power despite poll slump
  6. Commissioner optimistic on FYROM name solution
  7. Italian court keeps NGO migrant rescue boat docked
  8. German Jews warned not to wear skullcap in public

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. EU should not play 'games' with military HQs, ex-forces chief says
  2. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work
  3. Time for EU to take charge of global health research agenda
  4. EU in race to set global Artificial Intelligence ethics standards
  5. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  6. Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ
  7. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  8. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade