If you are a non-French citizen, you have probably heard more about French politics in the last week than ever before.  Just like the United States’ 2016 Election, France’s election is as crucial to its future, with so many candidates and so many distinct ideologies.

On April 24th, 2017, the results of the first round of voting were released:

  • Emmanuel Macron, affiliated with the “En Marche!” Party, received 24.01% of votes
  • Marine Le Pen, affiliated with the “National Front” Party, received 21.30% of votes
  • François Fillon, affiliated with the “Republicans” Party, received 20.01% of votes
  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon, affiliated with the “La France insoumise” Party, received 19.58% of votes
  • Benoît Hamon, affiliated with the “Socialist Party!” Party, received 6.36% of votes
  • Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, affiliated with the “Debout la France” Party, received 4.70% of votes
  • Jean Lassalle, affiliated with the “Résistons!” Party, received 1.21% of votes
  • Philippe Poutou, affiliated with the “New Anticapitalist Party” Party, received 1.09% of votes
  • François Asselineau, affiliated with the “Popular Republican Union” Party, received 0.92% of votes
  • Nathalie Arthaud, affiliated with the “Lutte Ouvrière” Party, received 0.64% of votes
  • Jacques Cheminade, affiliated with the “Solidarity and Progress” Party, received 0.18% of votes

Because no candidate was able to win the majority of votes, there will be a runoff election between the two most popular contenders: President of the National Front Marine Le Pen and President of En Marche! Emmanuel Macron.

The second voting round will occur on May 7th this year.  This runoff is rather historic.  For the first time in over a decade, a National Front member has progressed to the second round, indicating that clearly their message has resonated with more people today.  More shockingly, this is the first time in many decades that the runoff does not include someone of the centre right or left.

To aid in deciding who to vote for or for understanding the two remaining candidates, here is a simplified overview of them:

Marine Le Pen

  • Frequently branded as far-Right
  • Ran for president of France in 2012 and came in as the 3rd most popular pick
  • Won presidency of the National Front in 2011
  • Her campaign emphasizes placing France’s national interest above all else, tougher immigration laws, and higher security precautions
  • Favors economic nationalism: cutting income tax for the poor, taxation on companies who hire foreign workers and their importations, and against privatizing France’s government companies

Emmanuel Macron

  • Branded as a centrist
  • Former French Presidential Candidate, though amassed less than 2% of votes in 2012
  • Intends to cut corporate taxes
  • Intends to cut government spending and stop filling government employee positions
  • Free trade supporter