Emmanuel Macron, the future president of France?
The French Presidential race has become all the more intense with rightwing candidate Francois Fillon accused of corruption and asked to step out of the contest. Fillon was a popular winner in the Republican primary, even defeating the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but his campaign has hit a roadblock recently.
He has been accused of being responsible for a fake job scandal, having paid hundreds of thousands of euros in wages from public funds to his wife and children despite them not having done any work whatsoever.
Fillon was doing well so far, but the scandal has diminished his prospects. While Fillon was thought to finish second in the three-leg race between centrist Emmanuel Macron, far right candidate Marine Le Pen and himself, he was the clear favourite to win the two-stage election.
Le Pen, who is expected to win the three-leg race on April 23 is not considered popular enough to win the two-stage election to be held later on May 7.
As of now, Fillon does not even look likely to make it to the two-stage race. Most opinion polls put him behind his centrist opponent, Emmanuel Macron. Macron is a flamboyant 39-year old, who seems to have benefited the most from Fillon’s discomfort.
Fillon’s own party, the Republicans, don’t stand with him anymore. That party has been diminished by a lot of infighting, and no longer look like being serious contenders.
Many of Fillon’s colleagues including those that are known to be close to senior leaders such as Sarkozy, Alain Juppe, and ex-prime minister Dominique de Villepin have accused him of taking their party into an “abyss”.
Republican activists say that they are finding it impossible to campaign because of the hostility that they face from the voters.
Macron is now the leading candidate in the race and he comes across as a young and fresh alternative. A change from doing things as usual. He only founded his party, “En Marche” (“On the Move”) in April 2016, and since then has gone from strength to strength.
While Marine Le Pen of National Front has been making all the news, it is Macron who has been steadily gaining support. Polls show that Macron is not far behind Le Pen in popularity, gaining 25 percent of the vote.
Macron is now considered to be the favourite to become the next President of France. He is seen as saner than Marine Le Pen, and appeals to those that don’t like Le Pen’s extremist positions on a number of issues.
This is not to say that Le Pen cannot win. As Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US Presidential race shows, anything is possible in politics. But at the moment, it is quite clear that Emmanuel Macron is most likely to be the next President of France.
Regardless of who wins or what happens in the French elections, we will follow the race closely and keep you posted with all the latest developments from France here on Zapper News. So stay tuned!
Author: Raghav Hegde – India