French elections WIKIMEDAI
CAIRO – 26 April 2017: The run-off for the French presidential election is scheduled for Sunday, May 7, 2017. The two candidates facing off in the run-off are far-right nationalist Marine Le-Pen and liberal independent Emmanuel Macron. Official first round results were 23.75% and 21.53% for Macron and Le-Pen respectively. Second-round projections using the actual first-round votes expect 60.93% for Macron and 39.07% for Le-Pen, according to the Guardian.
The election is shaping history in France as the two final candidates defeated the socialists and center-right opposition that has dominated the French political sphere for years. The two final candidates hold dramatically contrasting visions for the future of France on the issues of local and foreign policy.
Following the election of Donald Trump in the United States last year, the French election and the positions of both candidates regarding foreign policy, terrorism, immigration and minorities will likely strongly influence the Middle East and the region’s future relationship with France.
Following the recent killing of a policeman on the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris, both final presidential candidates confirmed and stressed their commitment to actively fight terrorism. Marine Le-Pen declared that she wants to cut legal immigration to 10,000 per year and curtail illegal immigration. She called for more border control and the arrest of anyone suspected of terror activities. Furthermore, as part of her campaign plan Le-Pen calls for banning birthright citizenship and automatic rights to nationality for spouses of French citizens. She also called for closing extremist mosques and banning the wearing of religious symbols such as headscarves and veils in public.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, announced that he is set and ready to lead France to combat terrorism. As part of his campaign plan, Macron supports the development of a strong, united European policy on immigration to guarantee that a country like Greece is not excessively affected. Macron refused “discriminatory” policies, especially those targeting religious minorities. “No religion is a problem in France,” he said.
Macron is passionate about strengthening French-EU ties and tightening integration between euro zone countries. On the other hand, Le-Pen wants to renegotiate France's membership in the EU and return to the French currency, the franc, and abandon the euro.
At the foreign policy level, Le-Pen criticizes France’s membership in NATO and wants to strengthen ties with Russia. She opposes intervention against the Syrian regime. Since 2011, France has been one of the strongest supporters of the Syrian opposition. On the other side, Macron supports intervention against the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons. He also criticized France’s colonial legacy in Algeria and called it a “crime against humanity.”