France: election weekend approaches

The first round of the French presidential elections will take place in less than two weeks. Polls show the incumbent liberal president Emmanuel Macron in the lead with 28 percentage points, ahead of far-right politician Marine Le Pen (21 percent) and leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon (14 percent). Commentators evaluate possible outcomes against the backdrop of current events.

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Telos (FR) /

Europhile liberals vs. populist neutralists

Two new ideological poles are emerging in France, political scientist Gérard Grunberg comments in Telos:

“With Macron's centre and the far right - which is, however, currently divided - each accounting for around a third of the electorate, the balance of power tends to produce a bipolarity structured around the discrepancy between supporters of European cooperation and advocates of liberal democracy on the one hand, and populists and neutralists on the other. The second round of the upcoming election, in which Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will most likely face each other, can only reinforce the dominance of this ideological divide, especially since Marine Le Pen could do better than she did in 2017.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

No cakewalk for voters

The current situation and the key issues in the French election campaign are not making things easy for the electorate, writes La Vanguardia:

“The war in Ukraine is dominating the election campaign, and Macron's diplomatic engagement is clearly working to his advantage, while Le Pen's good relations with Putin could take their toll. Also in the case of Éric Zemmour, who is even more Putin-friendly than Le Pen. ... France faces a highly fragmented political landscape in the run-up to the presidential election, a political structural crisis, the aftermath of the pandemic and the dominance of the issue of Russian aggression in Ukraine. ... All this could translate into a high abstention rate.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Macron is good for Greece

Kathimerini hopes Macron will be re-elected and explains how he has supported Athens in his first term:

“With his stance toward Turkey, the promotion of a European front against Turkish aggression and support for the partnership between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt. ... In these geopolitically and economically challenging times, maintaining a strong and enduring relationship with the country which has the strongest military force and second-strongest economy in Europe is nothing to discount. And the fact that a friend of Greece seems almost certain to continue as leader of this significant world player is a welcome added advantage.”