Thursday

24th Jun 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

Analysis

Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.

News in Brief

  1. Gay-rights activist storms pitch at Hungary's Euro game
  2. UK defies Russian military over Crimea
  3. Delta variant to be 'predominant in EU by end-August'
  4. EU domestic banks need climate-risk plans
  5. Report: France and Germany want EU-Russia summit
  6. New EU rules on shipping fuels dubbed 'disastrous'
  7. Japan government proposes four-day working week
  8. US: Nord Stream 2 undermines Ukraine's security

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU talks migration over dinner, as NGO rescue-ship sets sail
  2. EU enlargement still 'hopelessly stuck'
  3. EU creates new cyber unit, after wave of online attacks
  4. How NOT to frame debate about Hungary's toxic anti-gay law
  5. What a post-Netanyahu Israel means for EU
  6. EU Commission warns Hungary over anti-LGBTIQ measures
  7. Fourteen EU countries condemn Hungary over anti-LGBTIQ law
  8. EU preparing to lift Burundi sanctions, despite warning

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us