French elections: let the race begin

The French 2022 election cycle is starting in the context of the war in Ukraine which favours to the incumbent president. Structural reforms, notably of the pension system, and the energy transition are debated but the main topic is household purchasing power as energy and food prices are hurting low income households. The electoral turnout might be very low which usually helps far left or right candidates.

With Emmanuel Macron’s entry into the presidential race, the French electoral cycle has finally begun, and will end with the legislative elections on 19 June. For the first presidential election round, scheduled for 10 April, the incumbent is polling ahead with 30% of the vote, far outpacing Marine Le Pen, who is closer to the 20% mark. Three other candidates are vying for second place in the first round: far-left candidate Jean Luc Mélenchon, who is attempting to rally a divided left behind his banner; the centre-right candidate Valérie Pécresse, whose campaign has lost momentum over the past weeks; and at the far right, political pundit Eric Zemmour, who has managed to win part of the conservative and identity politics vote. At this stage, none of them appears poised to beat Emmanuel Macron in the second presidential round of voting.

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