The French Elections.

After a tight first round of vote on April 23rd, there are only two days left before Europe’s future changes. By Sunday evening, either Marine Le Pen or Émmanuel Macron will have won the second round of the French presidential elections. Neither has gotten to this stage unscathed.

On one hand, stands the leader of the Front National party who has been accused of embezzling funds belonging to the European Parliament. Allegedly, Ms. Le Pen funded part of her campaign with money that belonged to the regional institution. In regards to her public policy scheme, it includes a referendum on France’s membership of the European Union and therefore implement the country’s independence of the eurozone. In addition, she plans to expand the armed forces and the penitentiary system. Finally, she intends to reduce the annual immigration quota to 10,000.

On the other hand, the former Socialist Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, Émmanuel Macron, has put an end to the bipartisan system of the Fifth Republic by forming an independent movement of his own (En Marche !). Macron stands by the continuity of France’s membership in the EU. Another of his promised policies includes the expansion of the police force by 10,000 more men. He has also pledged to keep the retirement age as it is for five years, and also to maintain the 35-hour working week established last year. Both of these measures are clearly an attempt to gain support from left-wing voters. Lastly, the independent candidate has pledged to work towards gender equality both in the public administration as well as in the private sector.

After last Wednesday’s debate, the polls place the vote intention for Macron at 61,2% and that for Le Pen at 38,5% (Ipsos). However, there is a chance that the abstention of far-left voters who supported Mélenchon in the first round will impact the final result.

Polls and predictions have proven useless in well-known recent elections and referendums. However, it is widely claimed that the French case is an exception where the vote intention is generally made effective at the polling stations. Now, we can only wait, for the French people have the final say about who will rule from the Élysée Palace.

PHOTO CREDIT: Joel Saget.