What you need to know about France’s presidential candidates before the runoff

Will it be Macron or Le Pen?

France's presidential election process has been ongoing since last summer, and since last Sunday, is now one more vote away from being final. And while all major elections are important, the fate of this particular election in France could be truly monumental. Its results will directly, and majorly affect the current position of the European Union, the global economy, and the current political state of the world's major western nations.

For the first time in decades, neither of France's two major political parties have candidates that have advanced to the runoff. Instead, the two candidates that will partake in May 7th's runoff are Emmanuel Macron of the En Marche! (forward) movement and Marine Le Pen of the National Front party.

Here is some background and notable information about both candidates.

Emmanuel Macron

  • Former investment banker and Socialist economy minister
  • Centrist and former Socialist
  • At 39 years old he could potentially become France's youngest president
  • Plans include lowering taxes and expanding healthcare
  • Married to his former teacher → while this would likely be scandalous story in the US it's less so apparently in France
  • He is pro-European Union and expressed last Sunday that he wants to be a "president of patriots, to face the threat of nationalists."

Marine Le Pen

  • Face of the National Front party founded by her father → Le Pen has since kicked her father out of the party and tried to distance herself politically from him given his extreme anti-semitic beliefs and racist rhetoric
  • With a strong nationalist outlook, she represents the far right
  • Candidate supported by Russia and Vladimir Putin
  • Plans include major restrictions on immigration and strong possibility of pulling out of the European Union (EU) as well as the euro currency
  • After last Sunday's results, Le Pen told her supporters that she wants "to free the French people" from the "arrogant elites."
With many of the topical issues at hand during the French presidential election, and even the candidate's platforms, there are certainly some eerie reminders present of the very recent US presidential election with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Regardless of the outcome on May 7th, France's election promises to be a historic one and will indeed have global impact.

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