French presidential election, 2017

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French presidential election, 2017

← 2012 23 April and 7 May 2017 2022 →
Emmanuel Macron Marine Le Pen
Nominee Emmanuel Macron Marine Le Pen
Party EM FN

Élection présidentielle de 2017 par département T1.svg

Results of the first round by department     Emmanuel Macron      Marine Le Pen      François Fillon

     Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Incumbent President
François Hollande

The first round of the 2017 French presidential election was held on 23 April 2017. As no candidate won a majority, a run-off election between the top two candidates, Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! and Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN), will be held on 7 May 2017. Incumbent president François Hollande of the Socialist Party (PS) was eligible to run for a second term, but declared on 1 December 2016 that he would not seek reelection in light of low approval ratings, making him the first incumbent president of the Fifth Republic not to seek re-election. This is also the first French presidential election in which nominees of both the main centre-left and centre-right parties were selected through open primaries. The presidential election will be followed by a legislative election to elect members of the National Assembly on 11 and 18 June.

François Fillon of the Republicans (LR), after winning the party’s first ever open primary, and Marine Le Pen of the National Front led first-round opinion polls in November 2016 and mid-January 2017. Polls tightened considerably by late January, and after the satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné published revelations that Fillon possibly employed family members in fictitious jobs as parliamentary assistants in what came to be colloquially known as “Penelopegate“, Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! overtook Fillon to place consistently second in first-round polling. At the same time, Benoît Hamon won the Socialist Party primary, entering fourth place in the polls. After strong debate performances, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France insoumise began to rise significantly in polls in late March, overtaking Hamon to place just below Fillon.

Estimates of the first-round result, as well as ballot counts published by the Interior Ministry, indicate that Macron and Le Pen will continue to the 7 May runoff. It is the first time since 2002 that a National Front candidate continued to the second round and the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that the runoff will not include a nominee of the traditional centre-left or centre-right parties;[1] their combined share of the vote, at approximately 26%, was also a historic low.[2]


First round

Results of the first round by department
Second-place candidate by department


e • d Summary of the 23 April and 7 May 2017 French presidential election results
Candidate Party 1st round 2nd round
Votes  % Votes  %
Emmanuel Macron En Marche! EM 8,437,940 23.90%
Marine Le Pen National Front FN 7,564,991 21.42%
François Fillon The Republicans LR 7,041,511 19.94%
Jean-Luc Mélenchon La France insoumise FI 6,907,100 19.56%
Benoît Hamon Socialist Party PS 2,244,080 6.35%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan Debout la France DLF 1,676,416 4.75%
Jean Lassalle Résistons ! 430,838 1.22%
Philippe Poutou New Anticapitalist Party NPA 389,245 1.10%
François Asselineau Popular Republican Union UPR 325,889 0.92%
Nathalie Arthaud Lutte Ouvrière LO 229,965 0.65%
Jacques Cheminade Solidarity and Progress S&P 64,371 0.18%
Total 35,312,346 100%
Valid votes 35,312,346 97.42%
Spoilt and null votes 935,448 2.58%
Turnout 36,247,794 78.27%
Abstentions 10,063,585 21.73%
Registered voters 46,311,379
Sources: Constitutional Council, Ministry of the Interior


Speaking time of candidates and supporters from 1 February to 10 April recorded by the CSA[3]
Fillon 300h58
Hamon 255h51
Macron 234h03
Le Pen 229h02
Mélenchon 160h36
Dupont-Aignan 44h00
Others 82h33

The President of the French Republic is elected to a five-year term in a two-round election under Article 7 of the Constitution: if no candidate secures an absolute majority (including blank and void ballots) of votes in the first round, a second round is held two weeks later between the two candidates who received the most votes.[4] In 2017, the first and second rounds are planned for 23 April and 7 May.[5]

To be listed on the first-round ballot, candidates must secure 500 signatures (often referred to as parrainages) from national or local elected officials from at least 30 different departments or overseas collectivities, with no more than a tenth of these signatories from any single department.[6] The official signature collection period followed the publication of the Journal officiel on 25 February to 17 March.[7] The collection period had initially been scheduled to begin on 23 February, but a visit by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to China on that date forced a delay in the issue of the decree in the Journal officiel to start the sponsorship period.[8] French prefectures mailed sponsorship forms to the 42,000 elected officials eligible to give their signature to a candidate, which must then be delivered to the Constitutional Council for validation. Unlike in previous years, a list of validated signatures was posted on Tuesday and Thursday of every week on the Council’s website; in the past, signatories were published only after the official candidate list had been verified after the end of the collection period. The end of the signature collection period also marked the deadline for the declaration of personal assets required of prospective candidates. The final list of candidates was proclaimed on 21 March.[7]

The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) ensures that all candidates receive equal time in broadcast media “under comparable programming conditions” from 19 March onward.[5] The CSA warned on 8 March that the amount of speaking time broadcasters had given Fillon and his supporters was “unusually high”, even given the unusual circumstances surrounding his candidacy.[9] After the official start of the campaign on 10 April, the CSA will strictly enforce equal time in broadcast media. Campaigning for the first round of the election ends at midnight on 21 April, two days before the vote. The Constitutional Council will verify the results of the first round on 24–26 April and officially certify the vote tallies on 26 April; should a second round be held on 7 May, the same procedure will be used again. The new President of the French Republic will be proclaimed on 11 May and undergo their investiture ceremony on 14 May at the latest.[5]


On 18 March 2017, the Constitutional Council published the names of the 11 candidates who received 500 valid sponsorships, with the order of the list determined by drawing lots.[10]

Candidate (name and age)[11]
and political party
Political office(s) Campaign logo Details
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (56)
Debout la France (DLF)
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan President of Debout la France
(since 2008)
Deputy for Essonne
(since 1997)
Mayor of Yerres
(since 1995)
Logo of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan A former member of the RPR, RPF, and UMP, Dupont-Aignan left the last over disagreements with Nicolas Sarkozy on the eve of the 2007 presidential election, and subsequently founded the sovereignist political party Debout la République (DLR), later renamed to Debout la France (DLF) in 2014. He previously stood as a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, in which he garnered 1.79% of the vote in the first round. Claiming the mantle of Gaullism, he seeks to position himself between Le Pen and Fillon.[12]
Marine Le Pen (48)
National Front (FN)
Marine Le Pen President of the National Front
(since 2011)
MEP for North-West France
(since 2004)
Logo of Marine Le Pen When Le Pen, a former lawyer, stood in the 2012 presidential election, she came in third with 17.90% of first-round votes. She rose within the ranks of the National Front (FN), founded and once led by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, culminating in a bitter leadership struggle which she won in 2011. Her campaign program prioritizes the national interests of France and exit from the eurozone,[12] and emphasizes her party’s traditional concern about security and immigration, as well as socioeconomic issues and the sovereignty of the French state, on matters of currency, borders, the economy, and the rule of law.[13] Her campaign has been punctuated by judicial inquiries into her party and personal associates.[12]
Emmanuel Macron (39)
En Marche! (EM!)
Emmanuel Macron President of En Marche!
(since 2016)
Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs
Logo of En Marche! The youngest candidate in the race and a former economy minister who has never run for elected office, Macron describes himself as “neither of the right nor the left”. He was appointed deputy secretary-general of the Élysée in 2012 and became economy minister in 2014, lending his name to the “Macron law” to promote economic growth and opportunities. He founded the En Marche! movement in April 2016 before resigning from the cabinet on 30 August.[12] The most explicitly pro-European of the candidates, Macron intends to implement reforms to modernize the French economy.[13] Macron secured support across the political spectrum, but primarily among left-wing figures;[14] notable supporters include perennial centrist candidate François Bayrou, president of the Democratic Movement (MoDem),[15]and Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian.[16]
Benoît Hamon (49)
Socialist Party (PS)
Benoît Hamon Deputy for Yvelines
(2012 and since 2014)

Logo of Benoît Hamon Hamon, a left-wing critic of Hollande‘s government, was the surprise winner of the Socialist primary in January 2017, defeating former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Hamon’s primary victory was driven in part by his support for a universal basic income, which remained integral to his program. He negotiated the withdrawal and support of Yannick Jadot of Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) in February, becoming the joint candidate of both parties.[12] He also advocates for the legalization of cannabis and reforming the structure of government to a “Sixth Republic”.[13]
Nathalie Arthaud (47)
Lutte Ouvrière (LO)
Nathalie Arthaud Spokesperson of Lutte Ouvrière
(since 2008)
Arthaud first ran for the presidency in the 2012 election under the LO banner, receiving 0.56% of votes in the first round. A professor of economics, she describes the objective of her candidacy as to “make the workers’ voice heard”, hoping to “allow workers, the unemployed, and exploited to defend their interests, as opposed to [those who pocketed] millions and millions”.[12] She claims that she is the only communist candidate, and wants to see borders disappear and overthrow capitalism.[13]
Philippe Poutou (50)
New Anticapitalist Party (NPA)
Philippe Poutou Spokesperson of the New Anticapitalist Party
(since 2009)
A long-time left-wing militant, Poutou is a trade unionist and Ford mechanic in Blanquefort currently fighting the local factory’s shutdown. He also ran in the 2012 presidential election, obtaining 1.15% of votes. He launched his political activities at Lutte Ouvrière before joining the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) which became the NPA in 2009.[12] With Marxist and anarchist roots, he crusades against capitalism and espouses radical-left ideas.[13]
Jacques Cheminade (75)
Solidarity and Progress (S&P)
Jacques Cheminade President of Solidarity and Progress
(since 1996)
Logo of Jacques Cheminade Cheminade founded Solidarity and Progress in 1996 and is the figurehead of the LaRouche movement in France. He proposes leaving NATO, the EU, the eurozone, and returning to the franc. He supports colonization of the Moon to facilitate exploration of Mars. He was a candidate twice before, in 1995 and 2012, collecting 0.28% and 0.25% of the vote, respectively, but failed to appear on the ballot in 1981, 1988, 2002, and 2007.[12]
Jean Lassalle (61)
Résistons !
Jean Lassalle Deputy for the Pyrénées-Atlantiques
(since 2002)
Mayor of Lourdios-Ichère
(since 1977)
Logo of Jean Lassalle Lassalle, a former member of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) and associate of François Bayrou running under the banner of Resistons !, considers himself the “defender of rural territories and a humanist ecology”. He became famous for a successful 39-day hunger strike protesting the movement of the Total factory from Accous to the Lacq basin 65 km (40 mi) away. In 2013, he walked 6,000 km (3,700 mi) on foot to “meet the French”.[12]
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (65)
La France insoumise (FI)
Jean-Luc Mélenchon MEP for South-West France
(since 2009)

Logo of Jean-Luc Mélenchon Denouncing the “liberal drift” of the party, Mélenchon left the PS in 2008 to found the Left Party. He attempted a previous run in 2012, coming in fourth with 11.10% of votes,[12] with the backing of the French Communist Party (PCF). The perennial critic of the Hollande government launched his 2017 bid without consulting the PCF, instead choosing to found his own movement, La France insoumise (FI).[13] He later won the PCF’s support by a narrow margin.[17] His program underlines left-wing and environmental principles,[12] including the establishment of a Sixth Republic, redistribution of wealth, renegotiating EU treaties, environmental planning, and protecting the independence of France, namely from the United States.[13] He ran an innovative campaign, gathering a large following on social media,[18] and holding simultaneous meetings in multiple cities via hologram.[19]
François Asselineau (59)
Popular Republican Union (UPR)
François Asselineau President of the UPR
(since 2007)
Logo of François Asselineau A sovereignist, Asselineau surprised with his ability to secure the 500 sponsorships required to stand as a candidate. Formerly of the RPF and UMP, he founded the Popular Republican Union (UPR) in 2007 and agitates for the French exit from the EU.[12] Sometimes classified as a far-right Eurosceptic, he denounces “American imperialism” and proposes leaving NATO.[13]
François Fillon (63)
The Republicans (LR)
François Fillon Deputy for Paris
(since 2012)
Prime Minister

Logo of François Fillon Fillon led a prolific political career starting from the early 1970s. The surprise winner of the primary of the right offered a liberal economic program ending the 35-hour workweek, dismissing 500,000 civil servants, abolishing the wealth tax (ISF), streamlining the labour code, and reforming the health insurance system. However, his campaign was hobbled in January 2017 following the publication of allegations of fictitious employment of family members, including his wife, collectively known as “Penelopegate“. He initially said he would drop his bid if placed under formal investigation, but continued his candidacy after such investigations began on 15 March.[12]


Socialist Party (PS)

The 2017 presidential election was the first in the history of the Fifth Republic in which a sitting president did not seek a second term. On 1 December 2016, incumbent president François Hollande, acknowledging his low approval ratings, announced he would not seek a second term. His then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared that he would run in the Socialist primary on 5 December,[20] but he was defeated by Benoît Hamon in its second round on 29 January.[21]

Democratic Movement (MoDem)

François Bayrou in 2006

François Bayrou, the three-time centrist presidential candidate and leader of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) – who came fourth in 2002, third in 2007, and fifth in 2012 – initially supported the candidacy of Alain Juppé in the primary of the right against his long-time adversary Nicolas Sarkozy, whom he vowed to run against if he won the primary.[22] However, Fillon’s victory in the primary – which saw the elimination of Sarkozy in the first round and the defeat of Juppé in the runoff – led Bayrou to reconsider lodging a bid for the presidency, despite his 2014 election promise during his successful mayoral campaign in Pau that he would not seek the presidency if he won. After an extended period of suspense, he finally announced on 22 February that he would not run for a fourth time, instead proposing a conditional alliance with Emmanuel Macron, who accepted his offer.[15]

Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV)

On 9 July 2016, Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) announced that it would hold a primary election before the 2017 presidential election. Those wishing to be nominated required the support of 36 of its “federal councilors” out of 240; nominations were open to individuals in civic society as well. The vote was open to both party members as well as sympathizers who could register to vote in the primary. The announcement came just days after prominent environmentalist Nicolas Hulot‘s surprise declaration that he would not offer himself as a presidential candidate on 5 July.[23] EELV were the first party to hold a presidential primary for the 2017 election, with two rounds held on 19 October and 7 November 2016. It was contested by deputy, former Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing, and ex-party leader Cécile Duflot, as well as three MEPsKarima Delli, Yannick Jadot, and Michèle Rivasi.[24]

Voting materials for the first round of the ecologist primary

Duflot was considered the early favorite, though she initially opposed holding a primary, aware of the risk that she might lose it; and highlighted her experience in government. Her main proposal was to incorporate the fight against climate change into the Constitution. Jadot was perceived as her main challenger; elected as an MEP in 2009, he worked with Greenpeace France from 2002 to 2008, specializing in transatlantic trade and climate issues. With Thomas Piketty and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, he sought a “primary of all the left”, which failed to materialize. He rejected the “candidacy awaited by the political-media world” – that of Duflot, among others – and represented an anti-Duflot force from the party’s right wing. Rivasi only barely managed to qualify for the primary, earlier lacking the necessary sponsorships. Like Jadot, she represents the militant wing of the party – albeit on its left flank – and served as deputy for Drôme from 1997 to 2002 and led Greenpeace France from 2003 to 2004. Delli, the daughter of Algerian immigrants, first became involved in politics as part of collective movements, and sought to become an MEP in 2009 after a stint as parliamentary assistant to Marie-Christine Blandin. Also of the party’s left-wing, she declared that she would defend a “popular ecology” and hoped to outmaneuver Jadot to the second round.[24]

Jadot and Rivasi advanced to the runoff after scoring 35.61% and 30.16%, respectively, in the first round; the other two candidates were eliminated, with Duflot garnering 24.41% and Delli 9.82%. Jadot won the second round of the primary on 7 November, obtaining 54.25% of the vote against Rivasi’s 40.75%, becoming the nominee of the EELV in the presidential election.[25] Jadot, who claimed 496 sponsorships just before the opening of the collection period,[26]withdrew his candidacy on 23 February and endorsed Hamon, the pair having agreed on a common platform.[27] An online vote among EELV primary voters from 24 and 26 February was required to confirm the agreement; an earlier vote to open talks with Hamon and Mélenchon was approved by 89.7% of those electors.[28] The Hamon–Jadot alliance was consummated on 26 February; among those who cast a vote, 79.53% voted to support it, with 15.39% opposed and 5.08% submitting blank ballots, and an overall voter turnout of 55.25% (9,433 votes).[29] This marks the first election since 1969 without a green candidate.[30]


The Republicans (LR)

First-round results by department

  François Fillon
  Alain Juppé
  Nicolas Sarkozy

After his loss as the nominee of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) in the 2012 presidential election, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to return to being a “Frenchman among the French”. However, he announced on 19 September 2014 that he would seek the presidency of the party,[31] a position he secured in an online vote on 29 November online vote with the backing of 64.50% of party members, against his main opponent Bruno Le Maire‘s 29.18%. He succeeded the triumvirate of Alain Juppé, François Fillon, and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, which assumed the party’s leadership after the resignation of Jean-François Copé.[32] Sarkozy was initially reluctant to accept the idea of holding a right-wing primary for the 2017 presidential election, but on 25 September 2014 he declared his support for a primary of the right after a warning from Juppé,[33] who on 20 August made public his intention to run for the nomination.[34]

The rules of the primary were confirmed in April 2015, scheduling the first round of an open primary for 20 November 2016, with a runoff on 27 November if no candidate received more than 50% of the vote. Those wishing to vote were required to pay €2 per ballot and sign a charter indicating their adherence to “Republican values of the right and centre”.[35] In order to appear on the ballot, prospective candidates needed to present sponsorships from 250 elected officials, including at least 20 parliamentarians from at least 30 departments, with no more than a tenth from the same department, in addition to the signatures of at least 2,500 party members across at least 15 departments, with no more than a tenth from the same department.[36] The charter permitted other parties wishing to participate to set their own sponsorship requirements.[35] The High Authority ultimately determined that seven candidates qualified to compete in the open primary of the right and centre: Fillon, Juppé, Le Maire, Copé, Sarkozy, and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet of the Republicans,[37] the party’s name after May 2015,[38]as well as Jean-Frédéric Poisson of the Christian Democratic Party (PCD), who was not required to present signatures as the leader of another party.[37][39] The National Centre of Independents and Peasants (CNIP) were also allowed to participate, but not to present a candidate.[40]

Second-round results by department

  François Fillon
  Alain Juppé

The primary was initially fought primarily between Juppé and Sarkozy, the top two candidates in primary polls.[41] Sarkozy’s program emphasized the themes of Islam, immigration, security, and defense. He proposed to end family reunifications and reform the right to birthright citizenship, halt the flow of economic migrants, and increase residence requirements to secure French nationality. He reaffirmed his interest in the “assimilation” of immigrants, and intended to ban other menus for school canteens (i.e., options for Muslim students) as well as Muslim headscarves at universities. Sarkozy also suggested that radical imams be expelled and suspected terrorists be detained by authorities and tried by a special anti-terrorist court, in addition a reduction in the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16. He proposed to postpone the increase the retirement age to 64 until 2024, permit exemptions to the 35-hour workweek, cut 300,000 civil service jobs by increasing working hours to 37 per week, and abolish the wealth tax (ISF). Like Le Maire, he did not rule out the possibility of a referendum on the European Union (EU).[42] He also sought a European treaty “refounding”, the creation of a European monetary fund, to commit 2% to defense spending by 2025,[43] and to reduce public spending by €100 billion and taxes by €40 billion while reducing the budget deficit to under 3% of GDP.[44]

In contrast to Sarkozy, Juppé spoke of a “happy identity” and emphasized the importance of integration as opposed to assimilation.[45] He supported drawing up a common list of “safe countries” to differentiate refugees from economic migrants, setting a “quota” on immigrants as necessary, and to stop providing foreign aid to countries refusing to comply with their obligation to accept deported citizens. He questioned Sarkozy’s proposals on Schengen and instead merely acknowledged that it was not functioning correctly, but concurred with him in exempting the acquisition of French nationality by foreigners at the age of 18 if previously convicted.[46] Juppé also demanded transparency on the funding of places of worship, civic training for imams, and, unlike Sarkozy, favored allowing women to wear the Muslim headscarf at universities. On economic issues, he proposed to end the 35-hour workweek, abolish the wealth tax, reduce corporate taxation, and set the retirement age at 65. He also pledged to slash in half the number of parliamentarians, renegotiate Schengen, and increase defense spending in absolute terms by at least €7 billion by 2022.[47]

After several strong debate performances by Fillon, however, a second-round Juppé–Sarkozy duel no longer appeared inevitable.[48] Fillon’s rise was propelled by his proposals for a rigorous economic program. Seeking €100 billion in cuts, he proposed eliminating 500,000 civil service jobs by 2022 and a return to the 39-hour workweek for civil servants. Like the other primary candidates, he planned to eliminate the wealth tax; in addition, Fillon suggested abolishing the 35-hour workweek – capping it at the 48-hour maximum allowed within the EU – and the implementation of other liberal economic measures. He also adopted a staunchly conservative social program, opposing adoption by same-sex couples and arguing France had no religious problem apart from Islam itself. Like Sarkozy, he sought to expand the capacity of French prisons, but unlike his former superior, he opposed banning religious symbols in public places. He also professed a more pro-Russian stance than other candidates, urging cooperation in Syria against the Islamic State and supporting the “pragmatism” of Vladimir Putin‘s intervention in the Syrian civil war.[49]

The first round of the primary on 20 November saw the unexpected elimination of Sarkozy, with Fillon coming in first with 44.1%, Juppé at 28.6%, and Sarkozy at 20.7% of the vote, and all other candidates far behind. A second round between Fillon and Juppé was confirmed, and Sarkozy announced that he would vote for his former Prime Minister soon after the results became clear.[50][51] Fillon scored a landslide victory in the 27 November runoff with 66.5% of the vote to Juppé’s 33.5% and became the Republicans’ nominee; voter turnout – at 4.4 million – was even higher than in the first round.[52][53]

Socialist Party (PS)

First-round results by department

  Benoît Hamon
  Manuel Valls
  Arnaud Montebourg
  Sylvia Pinel

At the 2012 Toulouse Congress, the Socialist Party (PS) modified its statutes to guarantee the selection of a candidate of the left through open primaries, with the National Council of the Socialist Party announcing the timetable and organization of the primaries at least one year beforehand.[54] On 11 January, Libération published an editorial in favor of a “primary of the left and ecologists”,[55] and on 9 April the National Council of the Socialist Party unanimously approved the idea of holding a such a primary in early December.[56] On 18 June, the National Council finally confirmed that it would organize a primary to select a candidate for the 2017 presidential election. Applications could be submitted from 1 to 15 December, with two rounds of voting planned for 22 and 29 January 2017.[57] Prospective PS candidates were required to sign the primary’s charter of ethics requiring candidates to rally behind its winner and to secure the support of 5% of one of the following groups: members of the National Council; Socialist parliamentarians, regional and departmental Socialist councilors in at least 4 regions and 10 departments; or Socialist mayors representing more than 10,000 people in at least 4 regions and 10 departments.[58] The conditions for becoming a the candidate of other member parties of the BAP – the PRG, UDE, PE, and Democratic Front (FD) – were determined by the respective parties’ leadership.[59]

The EELV declared on 20 June that it would not participate in the primary,[60] and the French Communist Party (PCF) did likewise the following day.[61] After declaring his candidacy for the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! also declined to participate,[62]as did Jean-Luc Mélenchon under the banner of La France insoumise, saying that he did not want to run in a primary with François Hollande since he would not be able to support Hollande if he won.[63] He later reaffirmed this by saying that with the exclusion of the EELV and PRG the primary was not truly “of the left” but a “primary of the Socialist Party”.[64] On 1 December, Hollande declared that he would not seek a second term, becoming the first President of the Fifth Republic to renounce a reelection bid. His announcement reflected his high personal unpopularity and resentment among Socialist colleagues regarding remarks he made about cabinet members and other associates in the book Un président ne devrait pas dire ça… (A president should not say that…) by Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, journalists at Le Monde.[65]

Second-round results by department

  Benoît Hamon
  Manuel Valls

On 17 December, the High Authority declared that seven candidates qualified to appear on the ballot: four from the Socialist Party – former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Arnaud Montebourg, Benoît Hamon, and Vincent Peillon – and François de Rugy of the PE, Sylvia Pinel of the PRG, and Jean-Luc Bennahmias of the PD.[66] Early opinion polling placed Valls and Montebourg first and second, respectively, with Hamon a close third.[67] Shortly after declaring his candidacy on 5 December, Valls proposed to abolish article 49.3 of the French constitution, a procedure that allows bypassing legislative approval, in a “democratic renaissance”; as Prime Minister, he invoked it on six occasions, using it to pass the Macron and El Khomri laws.[68] He also proposed a 2.5% increase in public spending while keeping the budget deficit under 3%, guaranteeing a “decent income” of €800, reducing the gender pay gap by half, pausing the enlargement of the European Union, appending a charter of secularism to the Constitution, consolidating the nuclear industry, and mandating six months of civic service.[69][70] He was twice physically attacked during the primary campaign: on 22 December, he was flour-bombed by a protester in Strasbourg saying “we do not forget [the 49.3]!”,[71] and on 17 January, he was slapped by a young Breton regionalist in Lamballe, who was subsequently charged.[72]

Former Minister of the Economy Arnaud Montebourg, a Socialist rebel known for promoting “made in France”, presented a firmly left-wing project shortly after declaring his candidacy in August 2016. He promised to offer French enterprises preference in bidding, reverse the 2011 tax increases on the French middle class,[73] and repeal most of the El Khomri labor law while preserving certain “interesting” social protections such as the “right to disconnect” and “personal activity account”.[74] Critical of European austerity, he declared that he would defy the requirement to maintain a budget deficit under 3% of GDP and intended to strengthen intelligence services, require six months of civic service, and achieve gender equality.[73] He also proposed €30 billion in spending to stimulate economic growth, lower the general social contribution (CSG) to increase individuals’ purchasing power by €800 a year, create 5,000 new posts in hospitals, call a referendum on a new republic, promulgate a law on the separation of banking activities (as Hollande did), impose a European carbon tax, and establish a national anti-terrorism prosecutor.[75]

The signature proposal of Benoît Hamon was the implementation a universal basic income for all French citizens, rolled out in stages beginning in 2018, partially funded by a tax levied on property combining the existing property tax (taxe foncière) and the solidarity tax on wealth (ISF), in addition to a tax on robots to fund social protections in general. Like fellow Socialist dissidents, Hamon criticized the El Khomri labor law and promised to repeal it if elected, and suggested that it be replaced with legislation acknowledging the need for greater social protections, including the right to disconnect and recognizing burnout as an occupational disease.[76] He also proposed to reduce the 35-hour workweek to 32 hours, saying that it was time to put an end to the “myth” of economic growth. Another of his flagship proposals was to legalize cannabis, using funds for “prevention” rather than “repression”.[77]

Benoît Hamon congratulated by Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo after his primary victory on 29 January

In the first round of the primary on 22 January, Hamon and Valls received 36.03% and 31.48%, respectively, and advanced to the runoff on 29 January. Montebourg, who secured only 17.52% of votes,[78] declared that he would cast his second-round vote for Hamon soon after the result became apparent.[79] Among the remaining candidates, Peillon secured 6.81% of the vote, de Rugy 3.83%, Pinel 2.00%, and Bennahmias 1.02%. Overall turnout stood at 1.66 million.[78] The legitimacy of the first-round results published by the organizers of the primary was questioned by observers in the French press, who noted that an overnight update added 352,013 votes without significantly changing each candidate’s percentage, with vote totals for each candidate increasing by 28%. Christophe Borgel (fr), president of the organizing committee of the primary, claimed that the anomaly was nothing more than a “bug” induced by pressure to update the level of participation in the first round, effectively acknowledging that the results of the primary were manipulated. Only on 23 January did the High Authority of the primary publish “validated” results.[80] In the second round of the primary on 29 January, Hamon defeated Valls by a comfortable margin, 58.69% to 41.31%; turnout, at 2.05 million, was considerably higher than in the first round. As the winner of the primary, Hamon became the Socialist nominee for president.[81]

On 22 February, François de Rugy announced his support for Emmanuel Macron, breaking the commitment requested of former candidates to back the winner of the primary. While acknowledging that Hamon was the legitimate PS nominee, de Rugy said he preferred “coherence to obedience”.[82] On 13 March, Le Parisien reported that Valls, rather than backing Hamon, would urge voters to support Macron in the first round of the presidential election;[83] Valls denied the report at the time,[84] but on 29 March declared that he would vote for Macron but would not rally behind his candidacy.[85] On 8 April the High Authority of the PS reminded party members to abide by the “principle of loyalty”.[86] On 15 March, the PRG announced its support for Hamon, securing concessions on issues pertaining to European governance, and confirmed an agreement with the Socialist Party for the legislative elections; this followed a period of hesitation after the primary in which the party contemplated Macron’s candidacy, which secured several of its parliamentarians’ support.[87]

Fillon affair (Penelopegate)

Main article: Fillon affair

Penelope Fillon in 2007

On 25 January 2017, the satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné published an article alleging that Penelope Fillon, wife of François Fillon, was employed as a parliamentary assistant by her husband from 1998 and 2002 and for six months in 2012 with no evidence that she completed any substantial work, while collecting a monthly salary of €3,900 to €4,600. After her husband’s appointment as Minister of Social Affairs in 2002 and later tenure as Minister of National Education, she served as a parliamentary aide to Marc Joulaud, Fillon’s substitute, until 2007, earning a salary upwards of €7,900 during this period. In all, the article claimed that she received €500,000 as a parliamentary aide, in addition to €100,000 as a literary adviser to the Revue des deux Mondes, whose president Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière is a close friend of François Fillon. While deputies in the National Assembly are permitted to employ family members, those are still required to complete legitimate work, evidence of which the paper was unable to find.[88] The PNF (parquet national financier, or national financial prosecutor’s office) initiated a preliminary investigation into possible embezzlement and misuse of public funds the same day.[89]

On 26 January, François Fillon appeared on TF1 to respond to allegations of the fictitious employment of his wife, stating that she had “edited my speeches” and “stood in for me at events when I couldn’t be there”, also claiming that the reason that she was never seen working in the Palais Bourbon was because “she was never on the front line”. In the interview, he also disclosed that he paid two of his children while a Senator for the Sarthe between 2005 and 2007, claiming that he did so for work in their capacity as lawyers. He also pledged to resign if he was personally placed under investigation.[90] However, on 27 January, it was revealed that both Marie and Charles Fillon were only law students when they were employed by their father during his stint in the Senate, contrary to his earlier statements.[91] Interrogated by investigators the same day, former editor-in-chief of the Revue des deux Mondes Michel Crépu claimed that only “two or maybe three” bylines in the review were attributed to her, also saying that he had seen “no trace” of any work by her that would “resemble [that of] a literary adviser”.[92]

Marc Joulaud in 2014

On 1 February, a week after its initial report, Le Canard enchaîné published revelations that the total sum received by Penelope Fillon in fictitious jobs apparently totaled more than €930,000; with the addition of the period from 1988 to 1990, her income as a parliamentary assistant now totaled €831,440. In addition, the satirical weekly also revealed that the payments to two of Fillon’s children reached nearly €84,000, with €57,084 net for Marie Fillon and €26,651 for Charles Fillon.[93] Video excerpts of a May 2007 Sunday Telegraph interview with Penelope Fillon surfaced on 2 February in which she claimed that she had “never been his assistant”, referring to her husband; The footage aired on Envoyé spécial on France 2 that evening.[94] The PNF expanded investigation into the fictitious employment affair to include Fillon’s two eldest children the same day to verify the veracity of their work, after Le Canard enchaîné reported that neither Marie nor Charles Fillon were lawyers at the time their father served in the Senate.[95] In a video on 3 February, François Fillon insisted that he would maintain his candidacy and called on his supporters to “hold the line”, seeking to assuage worries from within his own camp about the maintenance of his candidacy.[96]

On 6 February, Fillon held a press conference at which he “apologized to the French people” and acknowledged that he had committed an “error” in employing family members as parliamentary assistants, but appended that he “never broke the law”. He also argued that his wife’s “salary was perfectly justified”, adding that everything reported by the press on the issue was “legal and transparent”. He said he would not reimburse the payments received by his wife or children, and, saying that he had “nothing to hide”, divulged his property holdings. In addition to promising that his lawyers would question the competency of the PNF to carry out the investigation, he lambasted a “media lynching” of his campaign. His remarks followed Juppé’s declaration that “NO means NO” earlier in the day in response to rumors that he might replace Fillon as the party’s candidate should he decide to drop his bid.[97]

Sarkozy in 2015

Le Canard enchaîné continued its run of stories on Fillon in its issue of 8 February, revealing that Penelope Fillon collected severance payments totaling €45,000, with €16,000 in August 2002 for the period 1998–2002 and €29,000 in 2013 for seventeen months of employment for which she earned €65,839. The satirical weekly also asserted that she received a double salary during the summer of 2002, as she was hired by Joulaud’s office on 13 July, more than a month before her contract as a parliamentary assistant with her husband expired, on 21 August. Although aides are eligible to collect severance payments, the law does not permit such a high level for parliamentary assistants. An article in the same issue reported that Marie Fillon was simultaneously employed as a parliamentary assistant while training to become a lawyer, taking the first post in October 2005 and entering the EFB in January 2006. Fillon responded to the claims in a press release by saying that Le Canard enchaîné conflated the amount his wife collected in November 2013 with reported earnings in August 2007 after the conclusion of her work with Joulaud,[98] and denounced the paper’s allegations as “lies”.[99]

On 16 February, Fillon seemingly withdrew his earlier promise that he would terminate his candidacy if placed under formal investigation, saying “even if I am put under investigation, nothing will stop me” in private.[100] In an interview with Le Figaro published on 17 February, he insisted on continuing his campaign, declaring “I am the candidate and I will continue until victory” and that the closer to the election it was, the “more scandalous it would be to deprive the right and centre of a candidate”.[101] On 24 February the PNF finally opened a judicial investigation into the “embezzlement of public funds, […] influence-peddling and failure to comply with transparency obligations of the HATVP” against François Fillon, his wife, two of his children, and Marc Joulaud (who were left unnamed, presumably, to allow for expanding the investigation to other suspects, if necessary). The OCLCIFF, which failed to unearth any tangible proof of work by Fillon’s wife as a parliamentary assistant to her husband from 1988 to 1990, 1998 to 2000, and 2012 to 2013 or to Marc Joulaud from 2002 to 2007, and was unconvinced by the two reviews in the Revue des deux Mondes attributed to Penelope Fillon, tasked three investigative judges to continue pursuing the affair.[102] These three judges were identified on 27 February as Serge Tournaire, Stéphanie Tacheau, and Aude Buresi.[103]

Jean-Christophe Lagarde in 2015

On 1 March, Fillon was informed that he was summoned to appear before the judges and likely to be placed under formal investigation – generally a precursor to an eventual indictment – on 15 March.[104] In the subsequent hours and days, hundreds of campaign members, allies, and supporters rescinded their support for Fillon, including the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), a centre-right party whose president Jean-Christophe Lagarde backed Juppé in the primary, suspended its participation in the campaign.[105] fifteen campaign staffers,[106] and hundreds of others; a total of 306 elected officials and members of the Fillon campaign withdrew their support for the candidate by 5 March.[107] Many of those rescinding their support speculated about the potential return of Juppé to replace Fillon as the party’s candidate, with Fenech urging elected officials file sponsorships for the ex-primary candidate.[108] Meanwhile, associates of Juppé indicated that he was apparently warming to the idea of stepping in to run if needed, “ready but loyal”.[109]

Alain Juppé in 2015

Despite this chain of defections, François Fillon remained defiant, holding a rally at the Trocadéro on that afternoon intended as show of force.[110] He then appeared on 20 heures on France 2 that evening, during which he refused to give up his candidacy, saying that “there is no alternative” and adding that “no one today can stop me from being a candidate”, insisting that “it is not the party that will decide” the fate of his candidacy. He said that the rally at the Trocadéro cemented his legitimacy, and that though he would have stepped down two months ago if indicted then, it was now too close to the presidential election and it would be unfair to voters of the right if he quit now. With a “political committee” planned for the following day, he proposed to assemble a modified campaign team, naming François Baroin, Éric Ciotti, and Luc Chatel, in an attempt to rally support around his candidacy.[111] Immediately after Fillon’s appearance, Juppé announced on Twitter that he give a statement to the press in Bordeaux at 10:30 CET the day after.[112]

Juppé officially announced his abstention from the race on 6 March, saying that “for me, it is too late”, and added that Fillon was at a “dead end” with his allegations of political assassination.[113] The same day, the party’s “political committee” rallied behind Fillon, unanimously reaffirming its support for his candidacy.[114] The same day, Le Canard enchaîné revealed that Fillon had failed to declare to the HATVP a €50,000 loan from Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, president of the Revue des deux Mondes.[115] The UDI renewed its support for Fillon that evening, albeit only conditionally.[116] On 13 March, Le Parisien revealed that investigators discovered suspicious wire transfers made by Marie and Charles Fillon to their father while employed by him, with Marie returning €33,000 of the €46,000 she was paid. Charles Fillon, in his hearing, referred to similar transfers to his parents’ joint account, worth about 30% of his salary.[117]

On the morning of 14 March, Fillon was placed under formal investigation for misuse of public funds, embezzlement, and failure to comply with HATVP disclosure requirements.[118] On 16 March the investigation into Fillon was extended to “aggravated fraud, forgery, and falsification of records”. In particular, the probe sought to determine whether documents seized during a search of the National Assembly in March were forged in order to corroborate the veracity of Penelope Fillon’s work as a parliamentary assistant.[119] The investigation was also expanded into possible influence-peddling related to Fillon’s consulting firm 2F Conseil, which was previously hired by billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, owner of the Revue des deux Mondes, which employed Penelope Fillon. In 2013 de Lacharrière also provided a €50,000 loan to François Fillon, who failed to declare it as legally required.[120] On L’Émission politique on 23 March, Fillon said that Bienvenue Place Beauvau, a book co-authored by Didier Hassoux of Le Canard enchaîné, suggested President Hollande ran a shadow cabinet to spread rumours about his opponents, a claim Hassoux subsequently denied.[121] On 24 March, Marc Joulaud, Fillon’s former substitute, was formally placed under investigation for embezzlement of public funds.[122] Penelope Fillon was placed under formal investigation for complicity in and concealment of embezzlement and misuse of public funds, as well as aggravated fraud, on 28 March.[123]

On 10 April, Mediapart revealed that Penelope Fillon had in fact been paid by the National Assembly starting in 1982, not 1986, as earlier claimed by François Fillon.[124] The edition of Le Canard enchaîné set for publication on 12 April revealed that François Fillon secured his then-fiancée a job three times the minimum wage in a Parisian ministry as early as 1980 while he was serving as deputy chief of staff to Minister of Defence Joël Le Theule; her contract ended in 1981, after 15 months.[125]

Other incidents

Yannick Jadot (EELV) withdrew to support Hamon

After securing his party’s nomination in its presidential primary on 29 January 2017, Socialist Party (PS) dissident Benoît Hamon proposed forming a “governmental majority” with Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France insoumise (FI) and Yannick Jadot of Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV), seeking to “reconcile the left and the environmentalists”. Though Mélenchon had earlier demonstrated hostility to the possibility of an alliance, he expressed “satisfaction” with Hamon’s sentiments shortly after the primary.[126] On 23 February, Jadot cemented an agreement to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Hamon,[27] but on 26 February Hamon acknowledged that talks to secure an alliance with Mélenchon had failed, the pair only agreeing to a code of mutual respect.[127] The talks failed in part because of the candidates’ differing positions on matters related to the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), EU treaties, European defense, and the obligation to maintain a budget deficit below 3% of GDP, among other divergences.[128]

During a trip to Algeria on 15 February, Emmanuel Macron, candidate of En Marche!, remarked in an interview with local press that the French presence in the country had been a “crime against humanity” and “truly barbaric”, drawing the ire of numerous right-wing French politicians. François Fillon of the Republicans denounced Macron’s remarks as a “hatred of our history, this constant repentance is unworthy of a candidate for the presidency of the Republic”.[129] Seeking to put aside the controversy in a meeting in Toulon on 18 February, he attempted to qualify his remarks, saying that he was “sorry” for having “hurt” and “offended” many as a result, but nevertheless continued to insist on acknowledging that France had a responsibility for its colonial past, not just in Algeria.[130] According to an Ifop survey, a slim majority of French agreed with the sentiment that the country’s colonial history constituted a “crime against humanity” and that the French government ought to present an official apology for the abuses committed during the period, albeit strongly divided along generational lines, with younger voters tending to agree more strongly with Macron’s sentiments.[131] Nevertheless, his remarks were followed by a temporary resurgence for Fillon in polls of voting intentions.[132]

Marine Le Pen at Strasbourg in 2014

The various investigations of the fictitious employment of 29 parliamentary assistants to 23 National Front (FN) MEPs, implicating the entourage of Marine Le Pen,[133] continued through 2017. These fictitious jobs would constitute €7.5 million in losses for European taxpayers from the period 2010 to 2016. The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) pursued the case, establishing that one of Le Pen’s parliamentary assistants, Catherine Griset, never secured a lease in Brussels during the five years she was employed and only rarely appeared in the European Parliament, while another, Thierry Légier, worked as a bodyguard at the same time.[134] Though the European Parliament demanded that Le Pen return €298,392 by 31 January 2018,[135][136] representing the salary “unduly paid” to Griset,[137] she refused to do so,[135] and the European Parliament began to reduce her salary to reclaim the money.[136] On 20 February, investigators raided the FN’s headquarters in Nanterre for a second time in connection to the case;[138] though Le Pen was summoned to appear before judges on 22 February in the Griset case, she refused to do so until after the June legislative elections, invoking the parliamentary immunity granted to her as a MEP.[139] On 3 March, summoned to appear before judges to potentially be charged for breach of confidence, Le Pen was absent, again affirming that she would not respond to the case before the end of the campaign.[140] On 6 March, Charles Hourcade, who served as parliamentary assistant to FN MEP Marie-Christine Boutonnet, faced charges of “concealment of breach of confidence” in a separate case; like Le Pen, who described the investigations into the FN’s fictitious employment of parliamentary assistants as a “political operation”, Boutonnet declined to appear before judges.[141]

On 8 March, the satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné revealed that the Inspection générale des finances (IGF) was concerned by potential favoritism during a trip Macron made to Las Vegas in 2016. While visiting the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Macron hosted a “French Tech Night” with French entrepreneurs which was entrusted to Havas by Business France, an agency of the French government, at a total cost of €381,759. No public tender was issued for the event, and Le Canard enchaîné noted that an inquiry requested by Michel Sapin indicated that Havas would likely be charged with favoritism as a result.[142] On 13 March, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation into favoritism directed at Business France and Havas, but not Macron himself. Business France recognized that the organization of the event on short deadlines potentially led irregularities in the selection of Havas.[143]

In late March, several candidates commented on the general strike in French Guiana, with Fillon proposing to assist the sugar cane industry, Macron supporting €1 billion in investment over five years, and Le Pen planning to increase the number of police officers and creating a ministerial position for overseas French territories.[144]

During the early morning of 13 April, the ground floor of the building that houses Le Pen’s campaign headquarters was targeted by an arson attempt,[145] and on 17 April the seats of the Socialist Party and the Republicans in Lille were burglarized and vandalized at night.[146]

On April 20, three days before the first round, three police officers were shot and one killed in an attack on the Champs-Élysées, interrupting the 15 minutes pour convaincre (15 minutes to convince) on France 2, a program featuring successive interviews with the 11 candidates; in the following interviews, the remaining candidates paid tribute to the victims of the attack.[147] In the wake of the attack, Le Pen and Fillon, suspended campaign activities the following day – the final day of campaigning – while Macron canceled two trips and Mélenchon insisted on maintaining his schedule to demonstrate that he would not allow violence to interrupt the democratic process; Hamon made similar remarks, proceeding with one campaign event the following day.[148]

First round

A voting line on April 22 in Montreal

The official campaign began on 10 April and ended at midnight on 21 April. During this period, the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel was to ensure equal speaking time for candidates in audiovisual media.[5] On French public broadcasters, ten slots were allotted to the eleven candidates from 10 to 18 and 20 April, with nine slots on 19 April and eleven slots – one for each candidate – on 21 April, the final day of active campaigning.[149]

Voting in the first round took place on Saturday 22 April from 08:00 to 19:00 (local time) in the French overseas departments and territories situated east of the International Date Line and west of metropolitan France (i.e. French Guiana, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Pierre and Miquelon), as well as at French diplomatic missions in the Americas.[150] As at 17:00 (local time), the official turnout figures announced were lower in the overseas departments and territories (except for Saint Barthélemy) compared to the 2012 election.[151] Although voting took place one day before metropolitan France, the election results and final turnout figures will be announced at the same time starting from 20:00 (Paris time) on Sunday 23 April, once voting has ended in metropolitan France.[152][153] Voting in metropolitan France (as well as the French overseas departments and territories of Mayotte, New Caledonia, Réunion and Wallis and Futuna, and French diplomatic missions outside the Americas) takes place on Sunday 23 April from 08:00 to 19:00 or 20:00 (local time).[150]

Estimations of the first-round result will be published by pollsters and their partners starting at 20:00 CEST on 23 April. These surveys will be conducted by Kantar Sofres-OnePoint for TF1 and RTL,[154][155] IpsosSopra Steria for France Télévisions and Radio France,[156] Harris Interactive for M6,[157] Ifop-Fiducial for CNews, Paris Match, and Sud Radio,[158] Elabe for BFM TV,[159] and OpinionWay (without a media client).[160] Since the April 2016 passage of a law moving the closing times of certain polling stations from 18:00 CEST to 19:00 CEST to prevent leaks of results, survey institutes have raised concerns about the reliability of the first estimates, traditionally embargoed until 20:00 CEST.[161] Furthermore, given the small margins separating the candidates in pre-election polls, if it is still unclear which two candidates qualified for the second round, institutes may delay releasing estimates.[157] Ifop increased its number of representative polling stations checked from 150 to 300 and Ipsos from 200–250 to 500,[160] with the two institutes insisting that the doubling of scanned offices will mean that the results will be clear within an hour, after which the embargo on the estimations is lifted.[162] These estimations differ from exit polls in that they rely on actual results from hundreds of representative polling stations;[162] none of the nine major survey institutes will conduct traditional exit polls.[163]

The official election results will be released by the Constitutional Council.[5]


A debate between François Fillon, Benoît Hamon, Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon took place on 20 March, hosted by TF1 and moderated by journalists Anne-Claire Coudray and Gilles Bouleau. It is the first time that a debate prior to the first round was held. The choice of date means that TF1 will not be required to provide candidates with equal speaking time, as Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) regulations do not go into force until 9 April, the start of the official campaign. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who was not invited, denounced the debate as a “rape of democracy”,[164] and the CSA urged TF1 to guarantee fair speaking time for other candidates.[165]Dupont-Aignan filed an appeal that was rejected in part because he had already received airtime proportionate to his support.[166] On 18 March, appearing on TF1, he quit mid-interview, furious at his exclusion from the network’s debate.[167] The first debate began with an introductory question – “What kind of president do you want to be?” – followed by segments on three themes lasting about 50 minutes each: what type of society France should have, what type of economic model France should adopt, and the place of France in the world. The five candidates were given two minutes to answer each question, but opponents had the opportunity to interject 90 seconds in.[168] The debate was three and a half hours long,[169] and was watched by 9.8 million (47% of the audience share) on TF1, peaking at 11.5 million.[170]

BFM TV and CNews hosted the second debate on 4 April at 20:40 CEST, moderated by Ruth Elkrief and Laurence Ferrari,[171] inviting all candidates who qualified to appear on the first-round ballot.[172] The start time, earlier than that of the TF1 debate, was chosen to avoid continuing well past midnight. Three themes were addressed: employment, the French social model, and the protection of the French. The final part of the debate concerned the exercise of power and moralization of public officials. Each of the 11 candidates invited had a minute and a half to answer each question, and other candidates were permitted to challenge their answers. This was the first ever debate including all first-round candidates;[173] A total of 6.3 million people representing an audience share of 32% viewed the debate; BFM TV alone claimed 5.5 million viewers, equivalent to 28% audience share – an all-time record for the channel.[174]

France 2 intended to host a debate with all candidates on 20 April,[164] but on 28 March Mélenchon stated he was unhappy with its timing, planning not to attend, and would prefer that it be held before 17 April.[175] Macron also expressed reservations about the proposed third debate, stating that he wanted only one debate with all 11 candidates before the first round, and preferably not just three days before the first round of voting.[176] On 29 March, the CSA indicated that it was “concerned” that the date of the debate was too close to the first round, and recommended that candidates and broadcasters work to find an agreement as quickly as possible.[177] France Télévisions decided to maintain the date of 20 April due to the lack of a consensus on an alternative the following day,[178] but abandoned plans for a third debate on 5 April, instead proposing that individual candidates be interviewed by Léa Salamé and David Pujadas during that timeslot.[179] The plan was finally confirmed on 18 April, with France 2 offering successive 15-minute interviews to the 11 candidates with the two hosts.[180]

Though TF1 initially had plans to hold its own debate between the first and second round, it will instead jointly host one with France 2.[181] Though BFM TV originally intended to host a debate between the two rounds, it sought to join France 2 and TF1 after the latter networks agreed to co-host a single debate between them. However, BFM TV’s advances were rebuffed; while all channels were welcome to broadcast the debate, CEO of France Télévisions Delphine Ernotte said, it would not accept such an arrangement with BFM TV, which would mean three journalists moderating the debate.[182]

2017 French presidential election debates
Date Organizers Moderators  P  Present  I  Invitee  NI  Non-invitee  A  Absent invitee Notes
Arthaud Poutou Mélenchon Hamon Macron Lassalle Fillon Dupont-Aignan Asselineau Le Pen Cheminade
20 March
21:00 CET
Anne-Claire Coudray
Gilles Bouleau
NI NI P P P NI P NI NI P NI [164][183]
4 April
20:40 CEST
Ruth Elkrief
Laurence Ferrari
P P P P P P P P P P P [171][173]
Candidate viewed as “most convincing” in each debate
Debate Poll source Arthaud Poutou Mélenchon Hamon Macron Lassalle Fillon Dupont-Aignan Asselineau Le Pen Cheminade Notes
20 March
Elabe 20% 11% 29% 19% 19% [184]
OpinionWay 17% 8% 25% 20% 18% [185]
Harris* 13% 6% 20% 17% 18% [186]
Ifop-Fiducial* 17% 5% 19% 12% 16% [187]
4 April
Elabe 3% 5% 25% 9% 21% 1% 15% 6% 3% 11% 0% [188]
OpinionWay 1% 3% 20% 8% 19% 2% 17% 5% 3% 10% 0% [189]
Harris* 1% 2% 14% 6% 16% 2% 12% 4% 1% 15% 0% [190]
Ifop-Fiducial* 2% 6% 24% 7% 19% 2% 16% 5% 2% 16% 1% [191]
* Harris and Ifop-Fiducial polls were conducted among those aware of the debate; Elabe and OpinionWay polls among debate viewers.


Sociology of the electorate
Demographic Arthaud/
Mélenchon Hamon Macron Fillon Dupont-Aignan Le Pen Others Turnout
Total vote 1.9% 19.2% 6.2% 23.7% 19.7% 4.9% 21.9% 2.5% 77.3%
Men 2% 21% 4% 23% 18% 5% 24% 3% 78%
Women 2% 17% 8% 25% 21% 5% 20% 2% 77%
18–24 years old 3% 30% 10% 18% 9% 6% 21% 3% 71%
25–34 years old 1% 24% 8% 28% 8% 3% 24% 4% 72%
35–49 years old 2% 22% 7% 21% 11% 6% 29% 2% 74%
50–59 years old 3% 21% 6% 21% 13% 6% 27% 3% 76%
60–69 years old 1% 15% 5% 26% 27% 5% 19% 2% 84%
70 or older 0% 9% 3% 27% 45% 4% 10% 2% 88%
Socio-occupational classification
Manager/professional 0% 19% 8% 33% 20% 4% 14% 2% 79%
Intermediate occupations 2% 22% 9% 26% 13% 6% 19% 3% 78%
White-collar workers 4% 22% 6% 19% 8% 7% 32% 2% 71%
Blue-collar workers 4% 24% 5% 16% 5% 5% 37% 4% 71%
Retired 1% 12% 4% 26% 36% 5% 14% 2% 87%
Employment status
Employee 3% 21% 7% 24% 11% 5% 26% 3% 74%
Private employee 2% 20% 6% 25% 12% 6% 26% 3% 73%
Public employee 3% 23% 7% 23% 9% 5% 27% 3% 75%
Self-employed 0% 24% 8% 24% 16% 5% 21% 2% 76%
Unemployed 3% 31% 7% 14% 8% 6% 26% 5% 73%
Less than baccalauréat 2% 17% 4% 19% 19% 6% 30% 3% 75%
Baccalauréat 3% 21% 6% 24% 15% 5% 24% 2% 76%
Bac +2 1% 22% 6% 26% 22% 5% 15% 3% 80%
At least bac +3 1% 20% 10% 30% 24% 4% 9% 2% 81%
Source: Ipsos France[192]

Opinion polls

First-round polling

Opinion polling for the 2017 French presidential election

Nathalie Arthaud Philippe Poutou Jean-Luc Mélenchon Yannick Jadot Benoît Hamon Emmanuel Macron Jean Lassalle François Fillon Nicolas Dupont-Aignan François Asselineau Marine Le Pen Jacques Cheminade
Second-round polling

See also

French presidential election, 2012

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
French presidential election, 2012

← 2007 21–22 April and 5–6 May 2012 2017 →
François Hollande Nicolas Sarkozy
Nominee François Hollande Nicolas Sarkozy
Party PS UMP
Popular vote 18,000,668 16,860,685
Percentage 51.6% 48.4%

2012 French presidential election - Second round - Majority vote (Metropolitan France, communes).svg

Map of results by communes.

President before election
Nicolas Sarkozy
François Hollande

A presidential election was held in France on 22 April 2012 (or 21 April in some overseas departments and territories), with a second round run-off held on 6 May (or 5 May for those same territories) to elect the President of France (who is also ex officio one of the two joint heads of state of Andorra, a sovereign state). The incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was running for a second successive and, under the terms of the constitution, final term in the election.

The first round ended with the selection of François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy as second round participants, as neither of them received a majority of votes cast in the first round. Hollande won the runoff with 51.64% of the vote to Sarkozy’s 48.36%.[1]

The presidential election was followed by a legislative election in June.

Results[edit source]

Results by commune for the 1st round of French presidential elections, 2012.

  Le Pen
e • d Summary of the 21–22 April and 5–6 May 2012 French presidential election result
Candidate Party 1st round 2nd round
Votes  % Votes  %
François Hollande Socialist Party PS 10,272,705 28.63% 18,000,668 51.64%
Nicolas Sarkozy Union for a Popular Movement UMP 9,753,629 27.18% 16,860,685 48.36%
Marine Le Pen National Front FN 6,421,426 17.90%
Jean-Luc Mélenchon Left Front FG 3,984,822 11.10%
François Bayrou Democratic Movement MoDem 3,275,122 9.13%
Eva Joly Europe Ecology – The Greens EELV 828,345 2.31%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan Republic Arise DLR 643,907 1.79%
Philippe Poutou New Anticapitalist Party NPA 411,160 1.15%
Nathalie Arthaud Workers’ Struggle LO 202,548 0.56%
Jacques Cheminade Solidarity and Progress SP 89,545 0.25%
Total 35,883,209 100% 34,861,353 100%
Valid votes 35,883,209 98.08% 34,861,353 94.18%
Spoilt and null votes 701,190 1.92% 2,154,956 5.82%
Turnout 36,584,399 79.48% 37,016,309 80.35%
Abstentions 9,444,143 20.52% 9,049,998 19.65%
Registered voters 46,028,542 46,066,307
Table of results ordered by number of votes received in first round. Official results by Constitutional Council of France.Source: List of candidates · First round result · Second round result

More than 46 million people were eligible to vote.[2]

François Hollande received 51.64% of the votes, while Nicolas Sarkozy secured 48.36% of the votes in the second round.[3] Sarkozy became the first one-term president since Valéry Giscard d’Estaing lost to François Mitterrand in 1981.

First round[edit source]

By department[edit source]

By region[edit source]

Second round[edit source]

By department[edit source]

By region[edit source]

Primaries[edit source]

Socialist Party[edit source]

The 2011 French Socialist Party presidential primary was the first open primary (primaires citoyennes), jointly held by the French Socialist Party and Radical Party of the Left[4][5][6]for selecting their candidate for the 2012 presidential election. Voters had to donate at least one Euro and sign a pledge to the values of the Left to be eligible.[7][8] The filing deadline for primary nomination papers was fixed on 13 July 2011 and six candidates competed in the first round of the vote. On election day, 9 October 2011, no candidate won at least 50% of the vote therefore the two candidates with the most votes contested a runoff election on 16 October 2011: François Hollande won the primary, defeating Martine Aubry.[9] The idea for holding an open primary to choose the Socialist Party candidate was originally suggested in 2008 by the left-leaning think tank Terra Nova.[10]

Europe Écologie–The Greens[edit source]

Europe Écologie–The Greens (EELV) held a primary to choose its candidate. The vote was open to all members of the party and of the Independent Ecological Movement. There were four candidates. The first round was held on 29 June 2011. Eva Joly, a member of EELV and a former examining magistrate, obtained 49.75% of the vote, ahead of independent candidate and environmental campaigner Nicolas Hulot (40.22%). The other two candidates, Henri Stoll and Stéphane Lhomme, obtained 5.02% and 4.44% respectively. The second round was held on 12 July, with Eva Joly obtaining 13,223 votes (58.16%) to Hulot’s 9,399.[11]

First round[edit source]

Candidates[edit source]

In order to qualify for the first round of voting, a candidate had to collect the signatures of at least five hundred elected representatives among a total of more than 47,000; these could be mayors, general councillors, regional councillors, deputies, senators, members of the European Parliament elected in France.[12] The number of signatures per candidate is not released, but five hundred signatories for each candidate are chosen randomly and their names are published.[13] Ten candidates qualified in 2012:[14]

Campaign[edit source]

The official campaign began on 20 March, but in the wake of the shooting at the Ozar Hatorah day school in Toulouse the two leading candidates, Hollande and Sarkozy, suspended their campaigns.[24] Although Jean-Luc Mélenchon argued that to continue with the campaign was “an act of moral, emotional and intellectual resistance.”[25] In some parts of the media, Sarkozy and Le Pen were also criticised for misusing the Midi-Pyrénées shootings as campaign fodder against “radical Islam.”[26]

The following is a brief overview of the campaign adapted from information in Le Monde.[27]

François Hollande[edit source]

François Hollande, the candidate of the Socialist Party and the Radical Party of the Left, topped the opinion polls throughout the campaign. He emphasised his promise to be a “normal” president, in contrast to Nicolas Sarkozy’s sometimes controversial presidential style. He aims to resorb France’s national debt by 2017, notably by cancelling tax cuts for the wealthy and tax exemptions introduced by President Sarkozy. Income tax would be raised to 75% for incomes beyond one million euros; the retirement age would be brought back to 60 (with a full pension) for persons who have worked 42 years; 60 000 jobs cut by Nicolas Sarkozy in public education would be recreated. Homosexual couples would have the right to marry and adopt. Residents without European Union passports would be given the right to vote in local elections after five years of legal residency. On housing, he has promised to regulate rises in rent; to use punitive measures to compel towns and cities to apply the 2000 Law on Solidarity and Urban Renewal (French article on the law), which mandates the providing of social housing; and to provide public lands for the building of social housing. Hollande won the election, finishing first on the first balloting of ten candidates in April with 28.63% of the vote, and again finishing first on the runoff ballot between himself and Sarkozy with 51.64% against Sarkozy’s 48.36%.[28]

Nicolas Sarkozy[edit source]

Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president and candidate of the Union for a Popular Movement, was aiming for a second and last term in office. He was consistently second in opinion polls throughout the campaign, behind François Hollande. His reforms during his first term included a reform of universities, and of the retirement age; a reform enabling citizens to query the constitutionality of laws; and a reduction in the number of public sector employees. He argued that his reforms had helped steer France through a period of economic crisis. His campaign pledges for his potential second term are described by Le Monde as “anchored on the right”. He has promised to reduce legal immigration by 50%; threatened to withdraw France from the Schengen Area unless it were revised to enable stricter border controls; promised to compel beneficiaries of the Revenu de solidarité active to accept certain jobs, in exchange for support in finding them; and opposed Hollande’s proposals in favour of gay marriage and voting rights for foreign residents in local elections. He has also promised more frequent referenda, for citizens to be consulted on major issues.

Sarkozy admitted during the campaign that he did not visit Fukushima while in Japan after the previous year’s earthquake and tsunami, despite having previously said he had done so.[29]

Marine Le Pen[edit source]

Marine Le Pen is the candidate of the National Front, succeeding her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was a candidate in five presidential elections. Aiming to reach the second round, as her father had done in 2002, she also attempted to provide a different image of the party, avoiding the neo-fascist and anti-Semitic statements previously made by her father. She has advocated “national preference” for French citizens (over foreign residents) for access to jobs and social services, and a form of protectionism, as well as withdrawing from the euro and the European Union. She has advocated reducing legal immigration by 95%, abolishing the right to family reunification, and reinstating the death penalty, abolished in 1981 by then president François Mitterrand. She held the third place in opinion polls for much of the campaign, occasionally rising into first and second place in 2011 or dipping to fourth behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon, but remained consistently behind Hollande and Sarkozy by 2012. She finished the 2012 balloting with 17.90% of the vote tally, placing her third in the final results.[30]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon[edit source]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the candidate of the Left Front, which includes in particular the French Communist Party and the Left Party. (He is a member of the latter.) He has been described as the surprise or revelation of the campaign, with his level of support in opinion polls rising from 5% in October 2011 to around 15% (and sometimes up to 17%) by the end of the campaign. He finished in the first round of balloting with 11.10% of the national electorate, placing him fourth in the field of 10 candidates.[31] He inaugurated the practice of giant open-air meetings, which the two leading candidates then adopted in turn. A former French teacher, he was noted for his eloquent style and oratory, but also for his argumentative relationship with journalists, and occasional insults; he notably described Marine Le Pen as “half-demented”. He proposed raising the minimum wage to €1,700; setting a maximum wage differential of 1 to 20 in all businesses, so that employers wishing to increase their own salaries would also have to increase those of their employees; setting social and environmental norms which businesses would have to respect in order to receive public subsidies; supporting social enterprises through government procurement; taxing imports which do not meet certain social and environmental norms; and reestablishing 60 as the legal retirement age with a full pension. There would be an “ecological planification” towards a green, sustainable economy, backed by a “green rule” (règle verte) to be inscribed in the Constitution. On tax, he has proposed a progressive taxation, with higher taxes on the wealthy and a 100% tax rate beyond an income of €360,000 (thereby creating a maximum wage); expatriate French nationals established in a country with a lower tax rate than in France would pay the difference in tax in France. Businesses creating jobs, paying higher wages and/or providing training would receive tax cuts. Healthcare costs would be fully reimbursed by the state, and the right to die would be recognised. The right to abortion would be secured through inclusion in the Constitution. Homosexual couples would have the right to marry and adopt. Naturalisation of foreign residents would be facilitated, and foreign residents would have the right to vote in local elections. A constitutional convention would be assembled, with an aim in particular to increase the prerogatives of Parliament and diminish the powers of the President; all elections would be based on proportional representation, with gender parity.

François Bayrou[edit source]

François Bayrou is the candidate of the Democratic Movement, which he founded in 2007. He is one of only two candidates to stand in both the 2007 and 2012 elections (the other being Nicolas Sarkozy); he obtained 18.57% of the vote in 2007, finishing third. In the 2012 election he received 9.13% of the vote in the first round of balloting, finishing fifth.[32] He stands for an independent centre in politics, which he has sought to distinguish clearly both from the left and the right. Describing France as being “in a critical state”, he has focused on reducing the country’s national debt, through a public spending freeze, cuts to tax exemptions, and a raise in taxes (Value added tax and taxes on the wealthy). On education, he has proposed that half the time in primary school should be dedicated to the mastering of reading and writing.

Eva Joly[edit source]

Eva Joly is the candidate of Europe Écologie–The Greens. Before entering politics for this election, she was a known public figure, as the examining magistrate in criminal corruption cases involving powerful companies or individuals – notably the Elf Aquitaine oil company, the Crédit Lyonnais bank or businessman and politician Bernard Tapie. (See: Elf affair (fr).) She is also the first foreign-born person to stand for the French presidency; born in Norway, she is a naturalized French citizen. She focused her campaign not only on the environment but also on social issues, describing herself as the representative of the “reasonable” or “realistic” left, and on denouncing discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities. Homosexual couples would be given the right to marry and adopt, and foreign residents would have the right to vote in all elections. She suggested that the “ecological transformation of the economy” would create 600 000 jobs over the next five years. An agreement signed between her party and the Socialist Party contained a clause on the closing of nuclear reactors; in the final stages of the campaign, when François Hollande announced it would not be upheld, she expressed the hope she could still convince him. She also drew attention by accusing Nicolas Sarkozy of having obtained illicit funding for his previous campaign; critics accused her of ignoring the presumption of innocence, and Sarkozy himself replied that he “despised” her accusations. Known for her bright red glasses, which she symbolically switched for bright green ones, she was described by the press as struggling with her campaign, barely reaching 3% in opinion polls.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan[edit source]

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, described as an “anti-euro souverainist“, is the candidate of Arise the Republic, a party he founded in 2008. He has advocated leaving the euro on grounds of economic well-being, and the European Union “in its current form”, which he describes as “already dead” and leading to “economic ruin and social regression”. He has called for an “intelligent protectionism”, with tariffs on imports that result from “human slavery”; and tax cuts for businesses that reinvest their profits in France. He has described himself as a Gaullist.

Philippe Poutou[edit source]

Philippe Poutou, a worker in a car factory, is the candidate of the New Anticapitalist Party, succeeding Olivier Besancenot. For much of the campaign, he remained little known to the general public; he was described as lacking Besancenot’s popularity, charisma and ease with words. Freely admitting that he did not particularly want to be a candidate, and that he did not aim to be elected (particularly as one of his policies was to abolish the function of president, in favour of a fully parliamentary system), he saw his profile and popularity increase somewhat in the late stages of the campaign, when all candidates obtained equal airtime in the media. In particular, his unconventional behaviour drew attention during the television programme Des paroles et des actes (fr), along with his unusual campaign clips – such as one based on the film The Artist.[33][34] Like Nathalie Arthaud, his message was that improvements in workers’ rights would come through workers’ struggles and demands rather than through the ballot box.

Nathalie Arthaud[edit source]

Nathalie Arthaud, a teacher of economics and management in a secondary school, is the candidate of Workers’ Struggle. She succeeds famous perennial candidate Arlette Laguiller, who represented the party in six consecutive presidential elections, from 1974 to 2007. A Trotskyist, she has described herself as the “only communist candidate” in the election. She has stated that she does not aim to be elected, describing elections as “inessential”, and considering that workers will obtain new rights only through their struggles rather than through the ballot box.

Jacques Cheminade[edit source]

Jacques Cheminade is the candidate of his Solidarity and Progress movement, the French branch of the LaRouche movement. Described as a “conspiracy theorist” by the press, he drew some attention with his proposals for an expanded space programme, and stagnated slightly above 0% in the opinion polls.

Second round[edit source]

Candidates[edit source]

Campaign[edit source]

François Hollande at a meeting during 2012 political campaign.

Since the first round there has been a drive to woo far-right voters[35] with Sarkozy making immigration a major issue of his campaign and Hollande focussing on the euro-zone crisis and the state of the economy.[36] Sarkozy’s move to the right in embracing National Front themes such as stricter immigration has drawn criticism from prominent figures from his own party such as former Prime Ministers Dominique de Villepin, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Alain Juppé and Senators Chantal Jouanno and Jean-René Lecerf.[37] There was more criticism of the German-led austerity measures by Hollande,[38] while he also responded to Sarkozy’s words at a rally in Toulouse saying that “without borders there is no nation, there is no Republic, there is no civilisation. We are not superior to others but we are different.” In turn Hollande told a bigger rally in Paris that “I want victory, but not at any price, not at the price of caricature and lies. I want to win over the men and women who are angry, a hundred times yes, but compromise myself? A thousand times no.”[39] Sarkozy reiterated threats to withdraw from the Schengen Agreement if there was no tightening of border controls. He also said that there would be a presumption of self-defense when police are involved in the killing of suspects and criticised the EU’s lack of mention of Europe’s Christian roots in its constitution. Many of the issues were similar to that of the National Front, from which Sarkozy’s UMP gained votes between the 2002 and 2007 election. He further spoke “to those French who stay home, don’t complain when Francois Hollande is elected and regularizes all illegal immigrants and lets foreigners vote.”[40]

Le Pen stated she would submit a blank ballot in the run-off, calling on her supporters to make their own choices.[41] Bayrou announced on 3 May that he would vote for Hollande.[42] German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said she saw nothing “normal” in Hollande, despite his attempts to portray himself as such; instead she supported Sarkozy’s campaign.[43] Campaigning officially ended on 4 May.[44]

In the last government bond sale before the election, the previously rising yields fell slightly, while the amount sold was marginally lower than expected.[45]

International effect

The campaign has led to a “certain degree of gridlock in EU‘s corridors of power”. It’s unclear who will be the head of the Euro Group, who will join the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) and who will lead the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).[46]

Endorsements[edit source]

In the days before the election, editorials in the main newspapers expressed opinions about the two candidates. Le Monde did not explicitly support one or the other, but wrote that Hollande “has confirmed, between the two rounds, his consistency, albeit without addressing the vagueness of some of his own proposals”, while Sarkozy “has demonstrated his inconsistency, first running after the National Front, crossing the red line which had been set at the turn of the 1980s, and respected since then in the ranks of the republican right, before moving back towards the centre to avoid a breakdown with his own side”.[47] Libération supported Hollande:[48]

On the right, Nicolas Sarkozy has kept up a strategy of tension, leading his side into a transgression of its founding values. Whatever the outcome of the vote, the political landscape will remain, as a consequence, marked by a lasting and dangerous change. On the left, François Hollande has demonstrated that another vision of politics, another way of conceiving the State, another European politics are not only possible but within sight. And that, to finish, justice must be the cardinal virtue of societies such as ours, marked by a deep crisis and anger.

Le Figaro published an editorial in support of Sarkozy.[49]

Of the candidates who went out in the first round, Bayrou, Joly and Cheminade all explicitly declared their support for Hollande in the second round, while Mélenchon and Poutou urged their supporters to vote against Sarkozy. Dupont-Aignan backed Sarkozy, while Le Pen and Arthaud declined to support either candidate.

Debates[edit source]

There was one televised debate between Hollande and Sarkozy, although Sarkozy said he would prefer three,[50] an idea Hollande rejected. This took place on 2 May.[51]Hollande accused Sarkozy of dividing the French and failing to lower unemployment. Hollande promised to be a president for social justice, economic recovery and national unity. Sarkozy was said to have told Hollande that his lack of experience in national government made him unfit for the task of leading the world‘s fifth-largest economy in a crisis.[52]

Opinion polls[edit source]

Since his nomination in October 2011, François Hollande consistently led in the opinion polls, though after official campaigning began he began to see his lead narrow. Around late March 2012, polls started to show a narrow lead for the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy,[53] although these began to subside in favour of Hollande prior to the actual 1st round of voting. Prospective runoff polls, taken before the 1st round as well as those taken immediately afterwards, indicate Hollande would beat Sarkozy by a margin between 6% and 10%.

Voting in overseas departments and territories[edit source]

In overseas departments and territories of France located west of metropolitan France (Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, and French Polynesia), voting takes place a day early, so that citizens in those territories and departments do not find themselves voting after the initial announcement of results. This is also the case for French residents in foreign countries west of metropolitan France. Some of these communities are remote; Amerindians in French Guiana, who are French citizens, “sometimes live more than three hours away by canoe from their ballot box”, particularly in the large remote commune of Maripasoula. The electoral campaign papers sent to these voters, however, reportedly indicated 22 April as the day of the election, instead of 21 April.[54]

Post election[edit source]

French law sets a blackout of the release of exit polls until the last polling station is closed at 20:00, with fines of up to €75,000. However, the result was leaked on Twitter, circumventing the law with code names: “Flanby” for Hollande, “le nain” (midget) for Sarkozy, Titanic for Marine Le Pen, or Tomate for Mélenchon, as well as other humorous names and metaphors were also used such as Amsterdam (for Hollande), Budapest (for Sarkozy, who has Hungarian heritage), Berlin (for Le Pen, due to the Nazi past of Germany) and Moscow (for Mélenchon, due to the Communist past of Russia). The hashtag #RadioLondres was used as it recalls the coded messages from World War II sent by Radio Londres.[55] EU-based media outlets not subject to the French blackout law reported early exit poll results before closure of the polls, in both rounds of the election.[56][57][58] Olivier Cimelière reported that some people saw a risk of manipulating future elections.[59]

Reactions[edit source]

Sarkozy called for UMP to “stay together. We must win the battle of the legislatives” and said that “in this new era, I will remain one of you, but my place will no longer be the same. My engagement with the life of my country will now be different, but time will never strain the bonds between us.” Hollande then spoke at a victory rally in Tulle where he said:

To those who haven’t voted for me, let them know that I hear them, and that I will be president to all. There is one France, united in the same destiny. We will never be apart, how beautiful life is tonight!

He then travelled to Paris, where supporters of the Socialist Party gathered outside the headquarters.[2] He also said that “Europe is watching us. Austerity isn’t inevitable. My mission now is to give European construction a growth dimension.”[60]

International Reactions[edit source]

  •  Andorra – In electing the President of France, French citizens had also elected one of the two heads of state of Andorra. Prime Minister Antoni Martí congratulated François Hollande, expressing his confidence both in the continuation of the “excellent” relationship between Andorra and France, and in Hollande’s awareness of the importance of his role as Co-Prince of Andorra. Jaume Bartumeu, of Andorra’s Social Democratic Party (in opposition), described Hollande’s victory as “the beginning of the resurgence of social democracy in Europe”.[61][62]
  •  Belgium – Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo welcomed the election of his “friend”, adding: “François Hollande’s proposals on economic growth […] will have a positive impact for all Europeans and on European authorities”.[63]
  •  Denmark – Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt congratulated Hollande for his win.[64]
  •  Germany – Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her congratulations to Hollande and said that she and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle “agreed to discuss the kind of growth pact that Hollande has championed.”[64]
  •  Italy – Prime Minister Mario Monti congratulated François Hollande, saying he looked forward to a “close collaboration” within the European framework, the aim of which would be “an ever-more efficient union with economic growth as its objective”. He added that the results of the French and Greek elections required thinking about European policies, adding that in his view public spending should be concentrated on “productive investments” and avoid increasing debts.[63]
  •  Spain – Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed congratulations, saying he looked forward to “fruitful bilateral and Europeans relations” with the new president.[63]
  •  United Kingdom – Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated François Hollande and said he looked forward to the two countries maintaining their “very close relationship“. Opposition Leader Ed Miliband applauded Hollande’s “determination to help create a Europe focused on growth and job creation, in a responsible and sustainable manner. […] We are in great need of this new direction as Europe seeks to escape from austerity. I’m impatient to work with him in the months and years to come”.[63]
  •  United States – President Barack Obama congratulated Hollande for his victory and invited him to the White House.[64]

References[edit source]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Meeting Mélenchon Toulouse - 2017-04-16 - Jean-Luc Mélenchon - 41 (cropped 2).jpg
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
14 July 2009
Constituency South-West France
Minister of Vocational Education
In office
27 March 2000 – 6 May 2002
Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
Preceded by Claude Allègre
Succeeded by Luc Ferry
Member of the Senate
from Essonne
In office
1 October 2004 – 7 January 2010
Succeeded by Marie-Agnès Labarre
In office
2 October 1986 – 24 September 1995
Personal details
Born Jean-Luc Antoine Pierre Mélenchon
19 August 1951 (age 65)
Tangier, Tangier International Zone
Political party Unsubmissive France (2016–present)
Left Party (2008–present)
Other political
Socialist Party (1977–2008)
Internationalist Communist Organisation (before 1977)
Alma mater University of Franche-Comté

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃.lyk me.lɑ̃.ʃɔ̃]; born 19 August 1951) is a French politician.

After joining the Socialist Party in 1976, he was successively elected municipal councilor of Massy (1983), general councilor of the Essonne departement (1985), and senator of the same department (1986, reelected in 1995 and 2004). He also served as Minister-Delegate of Vocational Education between 2000 and 2002, under the Minister of National Education, Jack Lang, in the cohabitation government of Lionel Jospin.

He was part of the left-wing of the Socialist Party until the Reims Congress of 2008, at the outcome of which he left that party to found the Left Party with deputy Marc Dolez.[1][2] He was the president of the party, and then the co-president of it, along with Martine Billard, until August 2014.[3]

As leader of the Left Party, he joined the electoral coalition of the Left Front before the 2009 European elections and was elected member of the European Parliament in the South-West constituency (reelected in 2014). During the protest movement against the pension reform of 2010 his public stature grew thanks to his many public and television appearances. He was also the candidate of that coalition in the 2012 presidential election, at the outcome of which he came in fourth, receiving 11.1% of the votes. He is a candidate in the 2017 presidential election “outside the frame of political parties”, and founded the movement “Unsubmissive France” (FI) in February 2016.


Early life (1951–1976)[edit]

Born in Tangier (Tangier International Zone),[4] he was educated at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille in Rouen (Normandy).[5]

His father was a postmaster of Spanish descent, and his mother was a primary school teacher of Spanish and Sicilian descent. He grew up in Morocco, until his family moved to France in 1962.[4]

With a degree in philosophy from the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, and having gained the CAPES (a professional teaching qualification), he became a teacher before entering politics.[4][5]

Socialist mitterrandist leader (1976–1986)[edit]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon left Besançon to enter professional life in Lons-le-Saunier (Jura) and joined the Socialist Party (PS) in September 1976.[6] He soon assumed local and departmental responsibilities (deputy section secretary of Montaigu) and developed a federal newspaper that fought for a union between PS and the French Communist Party (PCF). It was at this time that the latter broke the agreements of the union of the left on a joint program of government. He then came to the attention of Claude Germon, mayor of Massy (Essone) and member of the executive office of the PS responsible for the business section. Without stable work after his application was rejected at the Croix du Jura newspaper,[7] he was hired by Claude Germon to become his private secretary.[8]

He became one of the leading Mitterrandist leaders of the Essonne federation, which led him to the position of first secretary of this federation at the Valence Congress in 1981 – he remained in this position until 1986. Positioning himself both against the “Second left” of Michel Rocard and the “Center of socialist studies, research and education”(CERES) of Jean-Pierre Chevènement.

He was elected senator during the senatorials of 1986.[9]

From the Socialist Left to For the Social Republic (1986–2008)[edit]

Departure from the PS and foundation of the Left Party (2008–2012)[edit]

At the Reims Congress, in September 2008, the political current “Trait d’union” created after the victory of the “no” in the French European Constitution referendum of 2005, Mélenchon makes a new contribution. On the eve of the filing of the motions, an agreement was reached between the seven contributions of the left wing of the PS, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon is one of the signatories of the motion C entitled “A world of advance”, led by Benoît Hamon.[10] He described this gathering as a “historic event”[11]: for the first time, this motion brings together all the sensibilities of the left wing of the PS, with emblematic personalities like Gérard Filoche, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann and Paul Quilès.

On 6 November 2008, the Socialist militants voted to decide between 6 motions. The motion supported by Ségolène Royal led with about 29% of the votes cast, while the one led by Benoît Hamon came in fourth with 18.5%. For Jean-Luc Mélenchon, it is a victory of the outgoing majority, which carries 80% of the votes (with the three firsts motions) and, among them, the motion advocating the alliance in the center.[12] Believing themselves too far from this trend to the point that it would not be useful to take part in the congress, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marc Dolez announced on November 7 their decision, “by fidelity to their commitments” and for their independence of action, to leave the Socialist Party and to create a new movement “without concession facing the right”.[13]

They announce “the construction of a new left-wing party”, simply called the “Left Party” (on the German model of Die Linke), and call for “the constitution of a left-wing front for the European elections”.[14] On November 18, in a meeting with the French Communist Party, the two parties announced their alliance in the form of a “partnership”, within the framework of a “left front for another democratic and social Europe, against the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon and the current European Treaties”. The launch meeting of the Left Party is held on 29 November in Saint-Ouen, in the presence of Die Linke’s co-chairman, Oskar Lafontaine.[15]

First presidential candidacy (2012)[edit]

He was the candidate representing the Left Front (Communist Party of France, Left Party, Unitarian Left) in the 2012 French presidential election.[16][17] He took fourth place and achieved 11.10% of the vote, trailing behind François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Marine Le Pen (and their respective parties, the Socialist Party, Union for a Popular Movement, and National Front). In comparison, the winner François Hollande received 28.63% of the vote.[18][not in citation given]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2013 in Toulouse.

Presidency of François Hollande (2012–2017)[edit]

Mélenchon represented the Left Front in the Pas-de-Calais’ 11th constituency, to confront his rival Marine Le Pen, where she had over 31% in the presidential election.[19] He received third place with 21.46% of the vote, narrowly edged out for second by Socialist Party member Phillip Kemel. Mélenchon decided not to stand in the second round of the election after this result.[20]

During the presidency of François Hollande, Mélenchon became one of the most critical voices in the left against his centrist free-market policy. He denounced a betrayal to the culture and ideas of the French Left.

Second presidential candidacy (2017)[edit]

For the second time, Mélenchon is running for the presidential election. His candidacy is endorsed by a political platform he founded, Unsubmissive France. This platform is endorsed by several parties, as the Left Party and the French Communist Party. Thanks to the electoral force of the PCF (allied with the Socialist Party), he got the 500 sponsors to be validated by the Constitutional Council. However, he is currently placed fourth in the polls while he was third before the Socialist primary and the bid of Emmanuel Macron. He is in favor of the establishment of a Sixth Republic and preserving the environment. According to the NGOs for the development aid Action Against Hunger, Action santé mondiale, CARE France and ONE Campaign, Jean-luc Mélenchon is the candidate in the presidential election who is the most engaged regarding international solidarity. Together with other French intellectuals, he vigorously denounces free trade between France and the United States as an example of global exploitation.[21]

Political positions[edit]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is a socialist republican and historical materialist, inspired primarily by Jean Jaurès (the founder of French republican socialism). He is a proponent of increased labour rights and the expansion of French welfare programmes.[22] Mélenchon has also called for the mass redistribution of wealth to rectify existing socioeconomic inequalities.[22] Domestic policies proposed by Mélenchon include a 100 per cent income tax on all French nationals earning over 360,000 Euros a year, full state reimbursement for healthcare costs, a reduction in presidential powers in favour of the legislature, and the easing of immigration laws.[23] He also supports the legalisation of cannabis.[24]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (right) with Olivier Besancenot (left) and José Bové (centre) at a meeting to rally support for the “No” vote in the European Constitution referendum of 2005.

Mélenchon is an outspoken critic of the European Union (EU), which he claims has been corrupted through neoliberalism.[25] During his 2012 campaign, Mélenchon positioned himself against the trend towards economic globalisation, which he denounced as disproportionately profiting the financial industry and “high income earners” at the expense of the poor.[25] He insisted international organisations such as the EU threatened to “strangle the voice of the people”.[26]

He also supports a renegotiation of European treaties.[27]

Mélenchon opposes the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which he perceives as an affront to France’s national sovereignty.[26] He has repeatedly called for France to withdraw from NATO.[26]

Anti-German sentiment[edit]

In Germany in June 2013, statements by Mélenchon in a radio interview for France Inter caused a stir in which he mocked the Germans.[citation needed] During a fierce TV debate with the Union politician Ingeborg Gräßle, Mélenchon said that “the French had not elected a CDU-CSU government.”[citation needed]

After the German Chancellor in December 2014 classified the reform efforts so far in France and Italy as insufficient, Mélenchon told Merkel through Twitter: “Shut your mouth, Mrs. Merkel! France is free.”[28] Jean-Luc Mélenchon, however, denies being prejudiced against the Germans and claims to have founded his party hand in hand with Oskar Lafontaine.[29]After the referendum in the Greek sovereign debt crisis in early July 2015, he said that the “right-wing German government” was primarily responsible for the aggravation of the crisis.[30]

Commenting for The Guardian in April 2017, Natalie Nougayrède, a former executive editor and managing editor of Le Monde,[31] noted:

“In his 2015 book Bismarck’s Herring (The German Poison), Mélenchon wrote that ‘Germany is again a danger’, its ‘imperialism’ is ‘returning’, and the EU is its ‘new empire’. He’s described Germans as ‘grumbling Teutons’ who seek to ‘deport’ their old people to eastern Europe or Thailand. And he’s written that German ‘expansionism’ was at work in the country’s 1990 reunification – an ‘annexation’ of East Germany, in his words. That in itself is no small rewriting of history, and no small denial of a people’s freely expressed will after the fall of communism. His criticism of Angela Merkel’s eurozone policies goes far beyond the economic. It peddles nationalistic, if not bigoted, hatreds. He may have tried to soften that impression by saying he wants ‘the peoples of Europe’ to revolt against their governments – and not start to fight among themselves. But he has hardly backtracked on any of his earlier statements. Much of this echoes and amplifies Le Pen’s rhetoric, rather than helping to combat it.”[32]

Political career[edit]

Governmental functions[4]

Minister of Vocational Education, 2000–2002.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament since 2009.

Senate of France

Senator of Essonne, 1986–2000 (became minister in 2000), 2004–2010 (resignation, elected in European Parliament in 2009). Elected in 1986, reelected in 1995, 2004. (At the age of 35, he was the youngest member of the Senate when he was elected to it in 1986.)

General Council

Vice-president of the General Council of Essonne, 1998–2001.

General councillor of Essonne, 1985–1992, 1998–2004. Reelected in 1998.

Municipal Council

Deputy-mayor of Massy, Essonne, 1983–1995.

Municipal councillor of Massy, Essonne, 1983–2001. Reelected in 1989, 1995.

Political function

Co-President of the Left Party, 2008–2014.


Mélenchon’s published works include:

  • Mélenchon, Jean-Luc; Amar, Cécile (22 March 2017). De la vertu (in French). Editions de l’Observatoire. ISBN 979-1032900598.
  • Mélenchon, Jean-Luc (1 December 2016). L’avenir en commun : Le programme de la France insoumise et son candidat (in French). Seuil. ISBN 978-2021317510.
  • Mélenchon, Jean-Luc (16 November 2016). Le hareng de Bismarck: Le poison allemand (in French) (paperback ed.). J’ai lu. ISBN 978-2290127940.
  • Mélenchon, Jean-Luc (8 October 2014). L’ère du peuple (in French). Fayard. ISBN 978-2213685755