Presidential election

Paris, France – April 23 & May 7, 2017

France heads to the polls on April 23, 2017 for the first round of the presidential elections.

The elections in the euro zone's second-largest economy are shaping up to be another test of the strength of anti-establishment parties in Western countries, with French voters angry with stubbornly high unemployment and fearful after a wave of Islamist militant Attacks.

Hardline reformist Francois Fillon scored a resounding win in France's conservative primaries in November, making him favourite to win a presidential election against the popular far-right and a deeply divided left.

In a country that saw months of street protests earlier this year against labour reforms that are much milder than those Fillon proposes, his far-reaching plans give both the ruling Socialists and Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) some hope that they can make a comeback.

The ruling Socialists and their allies will hold their own primaries in January, however there is disarray among the Left, with Francois Hollande's approval ratings at an all-time low for a postwar president.

Current polls suggest Fillon and Le Pen would both qualify for the second round on May 7, regardless of who runs for the left, with Fillon going on to win the presidency convincingly. 

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