Chaos Around Presidential Election in France

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Pollsters missed the mark in the United States 2016 presidential election, and they are doing it again in France. The reality and predictions are causing chaos around the election.

It is possible voters that are throwing off poll results. Citizens of France are not satisfied with traditional political parties.

President Francois Hollande has an historically low, 4 percent, approval rating. This provoked his decision not to run for re-election. Benoit Hamon is running on the Socialist platform.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy was predicted to win the Republican primary, however, Francois Fillon, the former prime minister, soared ahead with 44 percent. He had a 15 percent chance of winning the nomination, according to pollsters.

It was announced on Saturday, March 18, 2017, 11 candidates will proceed in the presidential election. France participates in a two-round voter process and will head to the polls on April 23 and May 7. If a candidate wins over 50 percent of the votes, on April 23, they will be declared president. Otherwise, the top two candidates will move on to the polls May 7.

Scandal surrounds the top three candidates: Fillon, Marine Le Pen, and Emmanul Macron. These issues are furthering the chaos around the presidential election in France.

Fraud Investigation

election Fillon, the center-right candidate, lost his place as the front-runner due to an open investigation into his use of public funds. He allegedly paid his wife and children parliamentary salaries. However, it appears his family did not do any work. At first, Fillon said he would remove himself from the race, if a formal investigation was opened. Thus far, he has not stepped down.

Supporters and staff members of the center-right candidate are bailing out of the campaign. The party requested Fillon remove himself and encouraged Alain Juppe to replace him. Currently, Fillon maintains 20 percent of the voters.

More Missing Money

It was recently discovered that billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere loaned a state watchdog 50,000 Euros ($53,767), interest-free. Fillon did not report this financial benefit. Allegedly, this money was paid so he would recommend Lacherriere for an esteemed award, in 2010.

Macron is not a member of a party, instead, he has become a powerful political movement.

Another Scandal

Le Pen, referred to as “the anti-EU leader of the populist National Front,” is running for the far-right. She is continuously pulling ahead and could possibly win the election. She is often called the French Donald Trump because of her Nationalist, anti-establishment stance.

Le Pen allegedly, paid her assistant and bodyguard as EU parliamentary aids. The investigation was full-force when the French police invaded the National Front headquarters. A French reporter asked her about the allegations and was ejected from the press conference.

In 2015, the European Parliament withdrew Le Pen’s immunity. She was sharing graphic executions, performed by ISIS, on social media.

Moreover, Le Pen refused to cover her head when she went to Lebanon. She was there to meet with a Muslim priest, in February 2017.

Her campaign promises include a border control initiative, reducing immigration, and dropping the Euro, as well as the European Union.

Scandals Around the Front-runner

electionThe Independent-center, Macron, is leading the presidential race. He refers to himself as “with the Left and open to ideas from the Right.” Macron is not a politician; he is a businessman, who has much in common with Trump.

President Hollande named Macron the minister of the economy, in 2014. This was his first political position, therefore, he favors himself an outsider, who can repair the broken political system of France. Running on a platform of change, large crowds fill the stadiums to hear him speak.

Macron referred to the colonization of Algeria as, “a crime against humanity.” In France, this is an abomination. French citizens were shocked by these words, nevertheless, their ears are pressed tightly to the ground.

The candidate is 39 years old, well-educated, and well-spoken. He started as a civil servant and became an investment banker. Macron does not think like a Wall Street banker, according to a friend, he only wants money so he can “be free.”

His wife is 24 years older than him. They met when she taught his drama class; he was 16 and they had an affair.

The Other Candidates

In addition to Fillon, Macron, and Le Pen. Jacques Cheminade, Francois Asselineau, Philippe Poutou, Jean Lasalle, Benoit Hamon, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Nathalie Arthaud, and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan will join the ballot list for president, April 23.

Any of these candidates could pull ahead in race. It seems Trump’s win as the U.S. President has opened the door of opportunity for chaos and upheaval around the presidential election in France.

By Jeanette Smith

Sources:

The Federalist: Thought The U.S. Elections Were Crazy? Wait ‘Til You Get A Look At France’s
New Statesman: Who will win the French presidential election?
U.S. News & World Report: Macron Leads Field of 11 Candidates in French Election

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