France Eyes Macron-Le Pen Runoff After First Voting Round

French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron
French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron (European Parliament/Facebook)
  • The French voted in the first round of their presidential election on Sunday.
  • The centrist Emmanuel Macron placed first with 24 percent support, followed by nationalist party leader Marine Le Pen at 21.3 percent.
  • The center-right Republican candidate, François Fillon, the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the ruling Socialist Party’s Benoît Hamon were eliminated from the contest. Read more

The Programs of France’s Presidential Candidates Compared

Polls suggest five candidates stand a chance of qualifying for the crucial second voting round in France’s presidential election next month.

They range from the far left to the far right, but a look at their policies suggests that these categories may have outlived their usefulness. Read more

Hamon, Macron Face Putin Apologists in French Debate

French presidential candidates François Fillon and Benoît Hamon shake hands before a debate in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, March 20
French presidential candidates François Fillon and Benoît Hamon shake hands before a debate in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, March 20 (AFP/Eliot Blondet)

Benoît Hamon and Emmanuel Macron don’t have a lot in common. The former wants to raise taxes in France in order to finance a universal basic income. The latter wants to cut taxes and reduce public spending.

Yet the two presidential candidates made common cause on Monday, when they faced three Putin apologists in the first televised debate of the 2017 campaign. Read more

Fillon Disqualifies Himself by Smearing Investigators

French Republican leader François Fillon arrives in Brussels for a meeting with other European conservative party leaders, December 15, 2016
French Republican leader François Fillon arrives in Brussels for a meeting with other European conservative party leaders, December 15, 2016 (EPP)

French presidential candidate François Fillon has gone down the same road as Brexiteers in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump in the United States by disparaging the institutions that stand in his way and appealing directly to “the people”.

Fillon, the center-right Republican candidate for the presidential elections in April and May, has dismissed charges that he paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros over the years for a fictitious job as a “political assassination”.

He alleges that the rule of law “has been systematically violated” in France and that “the notion of innocent until proven guilty has completely disappeared.” Read more

Fillon Refuses to Drop Out, Hurting the Right’s Chances in France

French Republican François Fillon attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, December 15, 2016
French Republican François Fillon attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, December 15, 2016 (EPP)

François Fillon has gone back on his word and said he will remain a candidate for the French presidency, despite an investigation being opened into accusations that he paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros over the years for a fictitious job.

Fillon, the center-right Republican candidate, had earlier vowed to pull out of the contest if such an investigation was launched.

Now he maintains it is up to the French people. Read more

Stars Align in Emmanuel Macron’s Favor in France

Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron changes his tie on a train, December 31, 2016
Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron changes his tie on a train, December 31, 2016 (Facebook)

Emmanuel Macron’s chances of winning the French presidency have never looked so good.

Recent surveys have him neck-and-neck with the conservative candidate, François Fillon. In some, he is even beating Fillon into third place, which would give Macron a spot in the second-round runoff against Marine Le Pen.

What’s changed from a few weeks ago, when Macron was in third place, is that the Socialists have nominated a far-leftist, Benoît Hamon, for the presidency and Fillon has been caught up in an expenses scandal. Read more

By June, France Will Have a More Pro-Russian President

French prime minister François Fillon in Paris, June 28, 2010
French prime minister François Fillon in Paris, June 28, 2010 (British Embassy)

The victory of François Fillon in the French center-right primary on Sunday means that, barring a major surprise, he will fight the second round of May’s presidential election against the far right’s Marine Le Pen.

This, in turn, guarantees that by June, France will have a president who, if not openly pro-Russian, has considerable sympathies for the views of Vladimir Putin. Read more