When is the French Presidential Election 2017, how does it work and who are the candidates?

22 Apr

The French will go to the polls this weekend, and again on May 7 to pick their new president, and the world will be watching to see just how far the “populist wave” has travelled. 

After the surprise of Britain’s Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump as US president, just what kind of politician – and politics – France chooses will be of huge interest to many, not just those inside Europe.

Here’s everything you need to know about the battle for the Élysée Palace.

Who are the candidates?

The top five candidates in 2017’s French election are, in alphabetical order: Francois Fillon (Les Republicains), Benoit Hamon (Socialists), Marine Le Pen (Front National) and Emmanual Macron (Independent) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Unbowed France). 

While there is no clear winner at this stage – political scandals, distrust towards  the polls, and the recent shock Brexit result in Britain and Donald Trump’s victory in the US mean that all sure bets off – there is a frontrunner.

When is the election?

The election will take place in just a few days and May of 2017. 

Candidates are pitted against each other twice – the first round of the vote takes place on Sunday, April 23. Then, the two top candidates face each other in a second run-off, on Sunday, May 7. 

French elections always take place on a Sunday.

Who’s the favourite to win?

French elections are usually a two-horse with between the conservative Les Republicains (formerly the UMP) and the left-wing Socialist Party. But for this year’s election, the goalposts have moved.

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