What are the challenges of the presidential electoral campaign in France – .

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What are the challenges of the presidential electoral campaign in France – .


PARIS, November 30 (Reuters) – The campaign for the presidential election next April is already in full swing in France, with the emergence of a far-right TV commentator who is fighting with Marine Le Pen over who will be Emmanuel Macron’s opponent in a second -rounding round.

Here are some of the main issues:

* WHO WILL WIN?

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The opposition is weak and fragmented, and polls consistently show Macron leading the first round and beating all likely opponents in the second round to win a second term.

But the pre-campaign has already had quite a few surprises in store, with far-right expert Eric Zemmour joining the race. Read more

Even if Macron wins a second presidential term, he will also need his upstart party, which has failed in all recent local elections, to win the legislative elections in June, if he is to be able to implement his policies comfortably.

* WHAT TO BE CAREFUL OF:

– The hot race for the second ticket of the second round between Zemmour and Le Pen, of the more established far-right National Rally.

At this point, the traditional Tories are out of luck in the second round, but they can still hope to make a comeback. The fragmented left is largely out of the presidential game.

– Can there be a “French Fox News” effect? The free channel CNews heavily promotes Zemmour. It has taken a conservative turn since media mogul Vincent Bolloré, whose grip on French media is expanding, took control.

– When will Macron officially confirm that he is a candidate and how? He has already entered pre-electoral mode.

– Can Macron lose his lead? The first favorites lost the 2017 elections, won by Macron, then an outsider. Pollsters passed the 2012 election several months in advance, but failed spectacularly on other occasions. They say abstention rates are almost impossible to predict so far, which creates a lot of uncertainty.

– Key dates:

December 4 – Conservative Republicans choose their candidate

April 10 – First round of the presidential election

April 24 – Second round between the first two candidates

May 13 – New president takes office

June 12 and 19 – Legislative elections

* WHAT WILL THE ELECTION BE COMBATTED ON?

– The far right dominated the political conversation at the start of the pre-election campaign thanks to the provocative proposals of Zemmour, convicted of incitement to hatred. Other candidates, right and left, followed suit, speaking harshly on immigration.

– But at a time of soaring energy prices, an OpinionWay poll and other surveys have shown that purchasing power, not immigration, is the number one concern of voters, followed by protection social, with security and migration issues far behind.

– The sustainability of the economic recovery will also be decisive. Opinion polls show voters are unhappy with Macron’s economic policies – but they don’t think any of his opponents would do better.

– Health has overtaken voters’ concerns during the height of the pandemic and could return to the top of the agenda if the newly discovered Omicron variant causes an increase in infections.

* WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

– Now that Britain has left the EU, France is the bloc’s main military power and the second undisputed economy. With Angela Merkel bowing out in Germany, a second term for Macron would make him Europe’s top leader.

– A second round pitting Macron against Le Pen or Zemmour will be an important test for the endurance of the European far right, which has spread across the continent over the past decade but has seen its influence begin to wane in certain countries.

– Macron, or any rival who overthrows him, will face growing public deficits to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a retirement system that many say needs reform and ambitions to reindustrialize France.

* WHO? The final composition is not yet known, but the main likely candidates are:

– Macron. The outgoing 43-year-old president, elected in 2017 on a centrist platform but whose politics have turned to the right, is about to throw his hat in the ring.

– The far-right leader of the Le Pen National Rally. This is his third candidacy for the presidential election. In 2017, she reached the second round, and the polls had long predicted she would do it again this time around, but Zemmour could thwart her hopes.

– Conservative Les Républicains will nominate a candidate on December 4, likely to be a choice between former EU Brexit leader Michel Barnier, Paris Ile-de-France region boss Valérie Pécresse and head of the North Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand.

– On the left, the Greens Yannick Jadot, the Socialists Anne Hidalgo and the far left Jean-Luc Melenchon are the most prominent of a long list of candidates considered unlikely to qualify for the second round.

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Reportage by Ingrid Melander Montage by Peter Graff

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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