In 2017, France saw President Emmanuel Macron from the “La République En Marche” party, LREM , win the Presidential Elections.
While Macron managed to secure a solid victory in 2017, gaining 66.10% of the votes, a recent poll by Politico shows that Macron’s popularity has been on a slow decline since April 2019.
Only recently has he managed to reclaim some of the lost popularity following the crisis in Ukraine. In contrast, Macron’s main rival, Marine Le Pen, has experienced a slow, yet steady increase in popularity since January of this year. Opinion polls show that her popularity amongst the electorate right now stands just below 20%, although it is still not high enough for her to win the Presidency.
This has led to debates regarding if he could win the Presidential Elections for a second time. Dominique Reynié, Head of the “Fondapol” thinktank, claims that the outcome of this election to be rather unpredictable, while The Economist forecasted a re-election of Macron. These conflicting predictions make it difficult to predict which candidate is more likely to win the elections.
This April’s elections come amidst a myriad of issues of global significance, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian crisis, and growing environmental and economic concerns. Some of these issues, Dominique Reynié claims, are the reasons why he stated that the outcome of these elections will be so unpredictable, as they might threaten Macron’s popularity. Reynié argued that “This is not an election like any other and I cannot see in any way that the result is certain. We could say one thing today and tomorrow it could be different.”. But one prediction he has made was that the election turnout for the first round might be lower than expected due to a large portion of the electorate being hostile to both Macron and Le Pen, the two main candidates of this election, but even this prediction cannot be guaranteed.
On the other hand, The Economist has tried to address some of the uncertainty by calculating how likely it is for Macron to win the election. Assuming the data collected is correct, the chances for Macron to progress to the second round of elections are estimated to be quite high, standing just below the 100% mark. The chances of actually winning the presidency though are slightly lower, at 86%, which is still sufficient for Macron to re-win the election, the significance of which would be remarkable as no President has so far been re-elected in France for over 20 years.
Politico has expected the turnout rate for the first round of this election to be at a surprisingly low 69%, which would be 2.6% lower than the lowest figure recorded until now: a 71.6% turnout rate for the first round of the elections in 2002. Overall, due to the sheer amount of factors likely to influence the outcome of April’s elections, the question of whether Macron can actually win the Presidential Elections remains up for debate.
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