Tuesday

30th May 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

MEPs vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Macron and Merkel to 'reconstruct' the EU

The French and German leaders will present a common proposal to deepen and strengthen the EU and the eurozone. They say they are ready to change the EU treaties.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks
  2. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  3. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  4. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform
  5. Club de combat: des espions russes recherchent des recrues européennes
  6. Judges refuse to 'let go' of Le Pen's fake jobs case
  7. Merkel: Europe cannot rely on its allies anymore
  8. Macron to tell Putin EU sanctions to stay