The five keys to the first round of the French presidential elections

Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Valerie Pecresse and Eric Zemmour (Reuters) (STAFF/)

The first round of the French presidential elections, which will be held tomorrow, Sunday, will have to respond to five big unknowns.


No poll predicts it, but the trend is that the far-right Marine Le Pen has advanced for several days while the re-election candidate, the centrist Emmanuel Macron, remains stagnant.

In some polls, the difference between the two is even less than three points, which is within the margin of error. If this dynamic is maintained, the candidate of the extreme right could achieve a very symbolic victory this Sunday, which would serve as a springboard for the second round, which will take place on April 24.

For this, he has a good reserve of votes among those who now opt for the also far-right Éric Zemmour (9% of voting intentions), who has marked a downward trajectory in the polls.

Macron and Le Pen in a 2019 meeting (Reuters)
Macron and Le Pen in a meeting in 2019 (Reuters) (PHILIPPE WOJAZER /)

It would be a personal success for the candidate, who has seen how many of her main allies abandoned her in favor of Zemmour and who would see the softening strategy of the most controversial axes of her program validated, such as immigration or anti-Europeanism.


The leftist candidate repeats that he sees himself in the second round, although the most optimistic polls place him 4 points behind the second position.

But Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who at the age of 70 is facing his third assault on the Elysée, speeds up in the final stretch with calls for a “useful vote”, trying to unite the left-wing electorate.

It is a clear appeal to the voter of the environmentalist Yannick Jadot (5% voting intention), the communist Fabien Roussel (3%) and the socialist Anne Hidalgo (2%), who can give him the push he lacks to overcome Le Pen and avoid the face-to-face of five years ago.


The level of participation is the great unknown in this first round, because the results will largely depend on its final percentage. There are several surveys that ensure that abstention can be around or exceed 28.4%, similar to 2002, the highest in the history of the Fifth Republic.

In the midst of a pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the campaign has generated less interest than in the past in a presidential election, the preferred elections of the French, which usually bring 80% of the census to the polls.

Apathy dominates the political environment (Reuters)
Apathy dominates the political environment (Reuters) (GONZALO SOURCES/)

Almost two-thirds of the French say that they are little or not interested in these elections and 12% even confessed that they did not know that there was an election day this Sunday.

Along with the unknown of participation is that of the undecided, since almost a third of those who say they will vote indicate that they still do not know for whom or say that they can change their ballot at the last moment.


Five years after being absent for the first time from the second round, the moderate right is once again on the way to not being in the decisive duel and, if the polls are correct, its candidate, the president of the Paris region, Valérie Pécresse, points to the worst result in the entire history of the party of Jacques de Gaulle, Jacques Chirac or Nicolas Sarkzoy.

In 2017, former Prime Minister François Fillon, beset by a corruption scandal, fell less than half a million votes short of overtaking Le Pen, but ended up knocking the “Gaullist” party out of the second round for the first time in his career. history.

Elected in a primaries closed to the militants, Pécresse has been falling in the polls, to around 9% given by the latest polls, which has already begun to reopen the internal wounds between supporters of the hardest wing and the more moderate.


The candidate of the Socialist Party, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has not succeeded in making her campaign permeate the left and the polls place her at 2%, even below the threshold from which the State returns the expenses of the campaign (5%).

Very far even from the 6.4% that Benoît Hamon had in 2017, who signed the worst result in the history of François Mitterrand’s party, five years after François Hollande became the second socialist president elected by universal suffrage.

The debacle that is announced could call into question the survival of the party, torn between Hidalgo’s line and that of its first secretary, Olivier Faure.

(With information from EFE)


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