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France Elections: Who Are the Candidates, in a Nutshell?

Posted on the 20 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
France elections: Who are the candidates, in a nutshell?

A tricolour, France.

As the French Presidential campaign hots up before voting this Sunday, we take a look at the candidates.

Nicolas Sarkozy. The incumbent, and 23rd president, has been in office since 2007, when he beat Socialist Segolene Royal. He promised change but has not delivered. The economy is in a woeful state – Standard and Poor’s downgraded France’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. He’s promised closer relations with the UK and America, and has overseen the debt crisis and the Arab Spring. Voters may still go to him – better the devil you know.

François Hollande. The socialist is regarded as a modest, quiet person, in contrast to Sarkozy’s noted flamboyance. But his 75 per cent tax on the rich is not making him any friends. Though he does plan to cut his own salary by 30 per cent. Voters call him “Mr Normal.”

Marine le Pen. The daughter of far-right politician Jean-Marie le Pen is focusing on immigration, although she has made attempts to shed her party’s extreme image by employing a Moroccan and a Jew. She’s planning to out-do her father, who battled against Jacques Chirac in the presidential run off in 2002. She may win more votes, but she doesn’t stand to do as well. 

Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The weirdest of the candidates, this militant socialist wants a new, Sixth Republic. But he has been winning voters. He has his own blog. The Guardian calls him the “poetry loving pitbull of anti-capitalism.”  He wants a 100 per cent “fat cat tax” on earnings over £300,000. He hates the US. He might split the left-wing vote, which would leave room for Sarkozy to win again.

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