Presidential Elections in France: No Chances for the Left

12.01.2017
The presidential elections in France will be held in two rounds on 23 April and 7 May 2017. According to a November poll by Harris Interactive, François Fillon and Marine Le Pen will enter the second round, and Fillon will prevail over Le Pen. However, according to a survey by Odoxa, since November last year the former prime minister has lost 12% of his popularity, and more than half of the French population believe that an independent candidate, former economy minister Emmanuel Macron will be better president. Yuri Rubinsky, Head of the Center for French Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for European Studies, spoke in interview with www.valdaiclub.com about distribution of political forces in France and chances of the presidential candidates.

According to Rubinsky, Emmanuel Macron is unlikely to enter the second round of voting. However, if one takes into account the trends of the last elections and referendums in other countries, nothing can be ruled out. "The rise of the populist national-patriotic waves, hostile to globalization and so on, is not only a French phenomenon, but a pan-European one. By the way, Trump's victory in the United States is also a vivid example "- the expert said.

The most probable is the duel between Marine Le Pen and François Fillon in the second round. "Today Fillon has certain advantage, but it is not guaranteed, because the rigidity of his program and its rightist character makes him vulnerable to critics not only from the left, but even from the center-right", - Rubinsky said.

It would be an exaggeration to call François Fillon a Moscow candidate. The position of the National Front and its leader Marine Le Pen is a much more "pro-Russian". She does not hide it.

Thus, it is too early to say that Fillon is doomed to win. "However, - Rubinsky continued – he has more chances than others. Now he is faced with a choice: what to do next, how to conduct his campaign. For some of the Fillon's entourage it would be preferable to soften the declared program, and it seems to be done. On the other hand, he seeks to strengthen the national-patriotic appeal in his program, sovereignist topics: security, struggle against crime, international terrorism, and here his own stature (as former prime minister and several times-minister) looks more convincing than the figure of Marine Le Pen".

Moreover, inside the National Front there are also differences. "On the far right flank now stands niece of Marine Le Pen - Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. She is a quite promising politician and stands for the traditional position of the National Front in its entirety, while Marine Le Pen paradoxically tries to bypass Fillon from the "left", - Rubinsky said.

According to the Valdai Club expert, the situation with the Left in the upcoming elections is more clear. It is obvious, that the future common candidate of the Socialist Party, which will be chosen after the upcoming primaries, has no chances of a breakthrough to the second round, Rubinsky concluded.

d François Fillon in the second round. "Today Fillon has certain advantage, but it is not guaranteed, because the rigidity of his program and its rightist character makes him vulnerable to critics not only from the left, but even from the center-right", - Rubinsky said.

It would be an exaggeration to call François Fillon a Moscow candidate. The position of the National Front and its leader Marine Le Pen is a much more "pro-Russian". She does not hide it.

Thus, it is too early to say that Fillon is doomed to win. "However, - Rubinsky continued – he has more chances than others. Now he is faced with a choice: what to do next, how to conduct his campaign. For some of the Fillon's entourage it would be preferable to soften the declared program, and it seems to be done. On the other hand, he seeks to strengthen the national-patriotic appeal in his program, sovereignist topics: security, struggle against crime, international terrorism, and here his own stature (as former prime minister and several times-minister) looks more convincing than the figure of Marine Le Pen".

Moreover, inside the National Front there are also differences. "On the far right flank now stands niece of Marine Le Pen - Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. She is a quite promising politician and stands for the traditional position of the National Front in its entirety, while Marine Le Pen paradoxically tries to bypass Fillon from the "left", - Rubinsky said.

According to the Valdai Club expert, the situation with the Left in the upcoming elections is more clear. It is obvious, that the future common candidate of the Socialist Party, which will be chosen after the upcoming primaries, has no chances of a breakthrough to the second round, Rubinsky concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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