This article, writen by Angie Charbonneau, originally appeared on the RPP blog and has been adapted.
Many candidates to the French presidential election are already in the race, others delay in formalizing their candidacy. In this article, you will discover all the French presidential elections candidates and the related process. Let’s also have an insight into how the election could impact the French presidency of the Council of the European Union. We hope that after reading this, the inner workings of this political moment will become clearer to you. Enjoy your reading!
The French presidential election in short
Next year, the presidential election of 2022 will take place in April. There will be two voting rounds, the first on 10th April 2022. It is direct universal suffrage which means that everyone over 18, and registered to vote, can vote. To become eligible, the candidate must obtain more than half of the cast votes (blank votes do not count). If none of the candidates obtains a majority of the votes, a second round will take place on 24th April 2024 with the two leading candidates from the first round.
Are there too many candidates?
One may indeed get this feeling from seeing the list of candidates: there is a strong competition for the presidential election!
Indeed, in France, anyone can put down his candidacy for a presidential election, if meeting certain conditions. Among them: being French, over 18, and registered to vote. In addition, the potential candidates must get 500 nominations from MPs or local elected representatives. To put this figure in perspective, there are over 42,000 representatives allowed to support a candidate.
21 candidates to the French presidential election announced so far
The particularity of the upcoming election in France is that the historically strong conservative party, Les Républicains (LR), and the historically strong left party, the Parti Socialiste (PS) are now weakened and fragmented. Moreover, established yet smaller political parties targeting similar voters, such as La France Insoumise (PC, far left) and the Parti Communiste Français (PCF, the French communist party) do not align their campaign efforts. As a result, each political party organizes its own primaries or nominates a candidate within the party. And, if this was not enough, numerous small political parties also nominate their candidates.
Finally, several political figures have already declared their candidacy with no actual party support.
Primary election at the green party (EELV) and the Republicains (Les Républicains, LR)
Holding primary elections is of course not compulsory. So far, only the green party (EELV) and the conservative party (LR) have decided to organize these. On 27th September 2021, Yannick Jadot won the primary elections of the green party (EELV). The conservative party (LR) will organize a primary election in congress on 4th December 2021 with only party members being allowed to vote. This was not always the case.
Interestingly, primary candidates at Les Républicains include some policymakers that held prominent roles at the European level:
- Michel Barnier, former Brexit negotiator and minister.
- Eric Ciotti, MP for the Alpes-Martimes department.
- Philippe Juvin, mayor of Garenne-Colombes and head of emergency services in the European hospital Georges Pompidou, also former MEP.
- Denis Payre, leader of the “Nous Citoyens” (“Us Citizens”) movement.
- Valérie Pécresse, former minister and President of the Ile-de-France region.
Xavier Bertrand, serving as Minister from 2005 to 2012 to both Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, has declared his candidacy. Not being a member of Les Républicains, yet having hold party positions at the predecessors of LR (UMP), he might also be an important on the conservative aisle.
The current candidates to the French presidential election supported by a party (in alphabetical order):
- Nathalie Arthaud, Workers’ Fight (Lutte ouvrière), economics teacher and former local elected representative.
- François Asselineau, Popular Republican Union (Union Populaire Républicaine, UPR), former Inspector General for finances.
- Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, France Arise (Debout la France), MP for the Essonne department and former mayor of Yerres.
- Anne Hidalgo, Socialist Party (Parti socialiste, PS), mayor of Paris since 2014.
- Yannick Jadot, Europe Ecology – The Greens (Europe Écologie Les Verts, EELV) MEP since 2009 and former campaign director for Greenpeace France
- Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Unbowed France (La France Insoumise, FI), former senator and MEP, is actually MP for the Bouches-du-Rhône department
- Marine Le Pen, National Rally (Rassemblement national), MP for Pas-de-Calais’s department. She was MEP (2004-2017)
- Florian Philippot, The Patriots (Les Patriotes), ex vice-president of Marine Le Pen’s party and former MEP
- Jean-Frédéric Poisson, The way of the people (La Voie du Peuple, VIA), former manager, former MP for the Yvelines department and former mayor of Rambouillet.
- Philippe Poutou, New Anticapitalist Party (Nouveau Parti Anticapitalist, NPA) former trade unionist (CGT) at Ford company
- Fabien Roussel, French Communist Party (Parti communiste français, PCF), MP of the Nord department and journalist
Candidates without party support:
- Arnaud Montebourg, former Minister of the Economy (2012-2014). He has no party even if he was member of the left-wing party Socialist Party before.
- Marie Cau, she was the first transgender person to become Mayor.
- Clara Egger, she is a teacher researcher and leader of the group Espoir RIC formed after the yellow jackets movement.
- Anasse Kazib, a trade unionist for railway workers (Cheminots sud rail).
- Alexandre Langlois, former policeman and trade unionist (Vigi.Ministère de l’Intérieur).
- Jean Lassalle, former member of the centre party (MoDem) and MP for the Pyrénées-Atlantique department.
- Antoine Martinez, former general in the Air Force.
- Jacline Mouraud, leader of the yellow jackets movement.
- Hélène Thouy, member of the Animalist party.
Macron missing in these lists?
Finally, there are two “potential” candidates missing. First, the actual President, Emmanuel Macron is expected to run for a second mandate, but hasn’t formally announced his campaign.
Second, Eric Zemmour, widely considered being a polemicist, has been very popular in recent surveys although not having declared his candidacy, yet.
What about polls and the French presidency of the EU?
A recent poll made by Harris Interactive for Challenges, published on 28th September 2021, shows the voting intentions for the presidential election. For the first round, Emmanuel Macron is leading with 23%, followed by the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen (16%). Then come Xavier Bertrand for the right (14%), Eric Zemmour (who is not officially candidate, 13%), and Jean-Luc Mélanchon (communists, 13%).
Hence the most likely picture for the second round would be a race between incumbent president Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Polls have Emmanuel Macron reelected with 54% of the votes (against 46% for Marine Le Pen).
A look at Twitter trends for the last 30 days among policymakers in France using Policy-Insider.AI reveals that #5ansdeplus (5 more years) is trending, even though Emmanuel Macron has not declared his candidacy yet. His party is indeed already campaigning for him.
#Zemmour is in the seventh position of the hashtags most used by members of parliament. La France Insoumise MPs are also very active on Twitter, with a total of 494 Tweets for Jean-Luc Mélenchon and 690 Tweets for Adrien Quatennens.
What impact of the French EU Presidency
The presidential election will take place during the French presidency of the Council of the European Union (1 January – 30 June 2022).
Obviously, if the current President is not re-elected it could weaken the French presidency of the EU. In the meantime, the national political considerations and topics that seem important for the presidential election are somehow translated into the political priorities for the French presidency of the EU such as social dumping, support to innovation and start-ups, and climate change.
If you want to know more about Twitter trends for French presidential election candidates, play for free with our Twitter trends dashboard. Policy Insider could also be a good tool to keep yourself up to date with candidates’ Twitter activity and to know who is the most active and followed. There will also be insightful articles on the topic coming up soon. Stay tuned!
This article has originally been published in English. Translations have been generated automatically and may include mistakes.