PARIS – As the clock ticks towards French general election next April 23, eleven candidates are making their final miles to win the trust of French voters.
This year’s election race is special because for the first time in the history of the modern Fifth French Republic, the incumbent president, Socialist President Francois Hollande, isn’t running for a second term.
Moreover, this is the first French presidential election in which nominees of both the main center-left and center-right parties were selected through open primaries; giving the far-right National Front a realistic chance of winning for the first time in 15 years.
Political analysts expect an additional run-off voting between the highest two candidates on 7 May.
The presidential election will be followed by a legislative election to elect members of the National Assembly on 11 and 18 June.
On 18 March 2017, the Constitutional Council in France published the names of the 11 candidates who received 500 valid sponsorships for the five-year French presidency. Below you’ll find brief profiles for each candidate.
- François Charles Amand Fillon:
- A 63-year old conservative center-right politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 2007 to 2012 under President Nicolas Sarkozy. With a prolific political career starting from the early 1970s he’s the current nominee of the Republicans. He was the Minister of Labour in 2002, Minister of National Education in 2004.
- Nicolas Dupont-Aignan:
- A 56-year old republican politician with Gaullist and Souverainist ideologies. He has been the mayor of Yerres, Essonne in north France since 1995. Aignan was a member of the center right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party until January 2007, but he left to create and lead Debout la France (DLF) since 23 November 2008. He is also the co-president of the European political party EUDemocrats. He was a presidential candidate in 2012 when he garnered 1.79%. His campaign is based on social national conservatism, and he’s known for his hard critics of some policies of the European Union (EU) as well as being anti-NATO.
- Marine Anne Perrine Le Pen aka Marion:
- A 48-year old lawyer and right-wing republican politician. She is the president of the National Front (FN) and the youngest daughter of the long-time FN leader Jean-Marie Le Pen whom, she expelled from the party in 2015. She’s also the aunt of FN MP Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. She’s a member of the European Parliament since 2004. In 2012’s presidential election she came third with 17.90%, behind François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. Her program prioritizes the national interests of France and exit from the eurozone, and emphasizes her party’s traditional concern about security and immigration, as well as socioeconomic issues and the sovereignty of the French state, on matters of currency, borders, the economy, and the rule of law.
- Emmanuel Macron:
- A 39-year old socialist politician, senior civil servant, and former investment banker. He studied Philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, and graduated from the École nationale d’administration (ENA). Later he became an Inspector of Finances in the Inspectorate General of Finances (IGF). In 2014, François Hollande appointed him to be the Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs for two years, then in 2016 he established his socialist centrist liberal party En Marche (EM). His program is based upon economic reforms and pro-European cooperation.
- Benoît Hamon:
- A 49-year old left-wing socialist politician and a member of the Socialist Party (PS) and Party of European Socialists (PES). He was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) till 2009. In 2012, François Hollande appointed him as the Junior Minister for the Social Economy at the Ministry of the Economy, Finance, and External Trade, and in 2014 as the Minister of National Education. He advocates for the reformation of the structure of the government to a ‘Sixth French Republic’.
- Nathalie Arthaud:
- A 47-year old economics professor and far-left communist politician from Peyrins, Drôme in southeast France. She ran for presidency with the Trotskyist and Marxist party Lutte Ouvrière (LO) in 2012 when she received 0.56%. The objective of her candidacy are to work for proletarian gains, anti-capitalism and erase national borders.
- Philippe Poutou:
- A 50-year old far left factory worker and trade unionist. He is the regional secretary of the General Confederation of Labour at Ford. He was a candidate for the Revolutionary Communist League in the 2007 legislative election. He also ran for the 2012 presidential elections with the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) when he obtained 1.15%. Based on his Marxist ideology his campaign seeks fighting for proletarian rights. And he has anti-nationalist ideas because of his anarchist roots. He’s also noted for his democratic socialist, anti-racism and pro-feminism views.
- Jacques Cheminade:
- A 75-year old French-Argentinian political activist. He is the head of the anti-capitalism LaRouche Movement in France which opposes neo-imperialism. Cheminade founded Solidarity and Progress (S&P) in 1996. He proposes leaving NATO, the EU, the eurozone, and returning to the franc. He supports colonization of the Moon to facilitate exploration of Mars. He was a candidate twice before, in 1995 and 2012, collecting 0.28% and 0.25% respectively.
- Jean Lassalle:
- A 61-year old is an Occitan French centrist politician from Lourdios-Ichère, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. He’s an independent deputy in the National Assembly of France with a humanist ecology ideology. He was a former member of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) and now running under the banner of centrist movement Resistons. Lassalle described his program as defending rural territories; referring to his homeland Occitania.
- Jean-Luc Mélenchon:
- A65-year old socialist politician. He’s the founder of the Unsubmissive France movement (FI) and served as the Minister-Delegate of Vocational Education between till 2002. He’s a member of the European Parliament and was the president of left-wing Socialist Party till 2014. In 2012, he ran for the presidential election and came fourth with 11.1%. His program underlines environmental principles, the establishment of the Sixth French Republic, redistribution of wealth, and renegotiating EU treaties.
- François Asselineau:
- A 59-year old politician with sovereigntist ideology and an Inspector General for finances. He created the Popular Republican Union (UPR). His movement promotes “Frexit”, and withdrawal from Eurozone and NATO as well. Analysts classified him as a far-right Eurosceptic, and he’s known for denouncing neo-imperialism and its main model the USA.