The First Round of the French Presidential Election – And the Winner Is?

The First Round of the French Presidential Election – And the Winner Is?

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After the Dutch parliamentary election in March which did not bring the spectacular triumph for populist Geert Wilders expected by many and will probably produce a government coalition consisting of liberals (VVD), social-liberals (D66), Christian democrats (CDA) and the greens (Groen-Links), it is now the French voters’ turn to decide on the political direction their country will take. The first round of the presidential election on 23 April will be an indication of things to come in the run-off (7 May) and the parliamentary election scheduled for 11 and 18 June. Of the eleven candidates running in the first round, only five can be considered serious contenders: François Fillon, representing the right wing of the centre-right Les Republicains, once traded as the sure winner, but in the meantime probably involved in one scandal too many to have a realistic chance of winning; Benoit Hamon representing the left wing of the Parti Socialiste who has come to an alliance with Europe Ecologie Les Verts, the French centre-left Greens; Marine Le Pen whose name and politics need no further introduction; Emmanuel Macron, the centrist runner-up and President Hollande’s former advisor and economy minister who joined the campaign in November; and, last but not least, the current Member of the European Parliament Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a break-away from the PS who founded the new far left movement La France Insoumise in February 2016 and has been gaining ground according to the most recent polls. Current polls also show a neck-to-neck race between Le Pen and Macron, but leave Le Pen chanceless in the run-off, which would be a second setback for the populist right in this year’s European elections. But, as over a third of the French voters is still undecided, will this really be the case? What have been the deciding issues during the election campaign? What are the expectations for the run-off and the upcoming parliamentary election? Will the European Union be spared the right-wing populist wave many feared for this year and how will the French election results impact the EU and European policy?

Date:  Wednesday, 26 April 2017, 12:30 – 14:00 (light lunch 12:00-12:30)

Venue:  Hotel Leopold Rue du Luxembourg 35, 1050 Brussels

Speakers:

  • Edouard Gaudot, Strategic Advisor to the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament
  • Marc-Olivier Padis, Director of Research Terra Nova
  • Aline Robert, Editor in Chief EurActiv, France

Moderator:

Klaus Linsenmeier, Director hbs European Union

No admittance without confirmed registration. E-Mail registration only. Please send the attached reply form to: marianne.ebertowski@eu.boell.org. The working language is English.