Controversy over French election

By Simran Gupta

Staff Writer

The first round of the 2017 French elections will be held on April 23. In the event that none of the candidates win a majority of the votes, a second run-off round between the top two candidates will take place on May 7. As the days inch closer to April, the various parties have announced their nominees.

Head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 presidential election Macron, attends a campaign rally in Lyon

Robert Pratta/Reuters

Benoît Hamon will represent the parti socialiste (socialist party), the same party that the current French president, François Hollande, aligns himself with. Though he is eligible to run for a second term, Hollande has announced that he will not be running again.

François Fillon is the pick for the Republicans (les républicains) and the focus for the public and the media due to a recent “scandal.” French journal Le Figaro broke the story just one week ago, detailing how François Fillon paid his wife thousands of dollars from the public payroll. The Canard Echaînée newspaper further explains that it is not clear whether Fillon’s wife actually worked for the money. This news has severely impacted Fillon, who was previously the favorite to win the election.

According to the New York Times, the “uproar” has lifted hopes for opponent Emmanuel Macron, who is running “an insurgent campaign atop his newly formed political movement.” Macron’s party is called “En Marche!” or, “Forward!”

It is a French progressive and social liberal political organization, and was founded in April 2016.

Marine Le Pen is running for the National Front, France’s right wing populist and nationalist party. She was elected as the party’s current leader in 2011, after the resignation of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Currently, Le Pen and Macron hold the lead in polls; Le Pen’s position has been sparking debate about the rise of populism in the west and worry over Trump’s presidency.

Finally, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the nominee for the left-wing Unsubmissive France party, which is untraditional in that it is unfixed but is instead formed of local support committees.

All eyes and ears are tuned for developments in “#penelopegate,” the shorthand term for Fillon’s scandal. The following months will tell how this news will shape France’s race, and more specifically, Fillon’s race.

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