Friday

19th Jan 2018

French election campaigning gets underway

France's official election campaign started on Monday (9 April) two weeks ahead of the first round of voting and with 12 candidates in the race.

With the centre-right Jacques Chirac stepping down after a 12-year reign as president, the country is in high election fever and is being watched with interest around the world.

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.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right candidate, continues to top the polls followed by socialist contender Segolene Royal and centrist candidate Francois Bayrou.

Mr Bayrou entered the election late but has spiced up the race being considered a bit of a 'dark horse' at the beginning but quickly shooting up the polls to third place.

According to the latest LH2 survey reported in Le Nouvel Observateur, Mr Sarkozy has dropped one percentage point to 28 percent, Ms Royal has lost two percentage points and is clocking in at 24 percent while Mr Bayrou remains at 18 percent.

Far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, meanwhile, has gone up in the polls from 13 to 15 percent.

Other candidates for the 22 April first round include Olivier Besancenot from the communist revolutionary league, Jose Bove, the anti-globalisation farmer, Frederic Nihous from the hunting, fishing, nature and traditions party and Dominique Voynet from the Greens.

Election officials are recording record numbers of people registering to vote, but the vote is expected to go to the 6 May second round as none of the candidates is expected to get more than 50 percent in the first round.

Europe bashing

France's elections will also have profound implications for Europe and its attempts to revive talks on internal institutional reform, with the topic until very recently being taboo at political level since the EU constitution was rejected by French voters in May 2005.

All three leading candidates have a different approach towards what to do with the moribund document.

Mr Sarkozy wants a pared down treaty that can be approved by national parliaments only, while Ms Royal and Mr Bayrou - who also favours a slimmer treaty - both want a referendum.

Another referendum in France would likely force other countries hoping to avoid a popular poll on the issue - notably the UK - into having one.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarkozy and Ms Royal, in particular, have raised eyebrows in Brussels by going in for some Europe bashing, accusing the EU of supporting untrammelled free marketism and criticising the single currency.

Both candidates have indicated that Europe is not doing enough for its people and have had words about the European Central Bank.

Mr Sarkozy wants the ECB to weaken the euro to make exports more competitive while Ms Royal wants the bank to change its focus to supporting the creation of more jobs.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia