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On Monday, April 4 at 19:30 GMT:
On April 10 voters in France will head to the polls to elect their next president. Will it be a second five-year term for President Emmanuel Macron? Or will any of the other 12 candidates make a significant jump in popularity with voters at the ballot box?

The current president, centrist Emmanuel Macron, has had a clear and significant lead in the polls for at least six months, and that lead has grown since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has also led to a slightly strange campaign season, as Macron has mostly been absent from rallies, yet visible as a bridge between Moscow and Kyiv. He is campaigning on a pro-European platform, tax cuts, improved labour policies and boosting France’s self-sufficiency. But he also has to contend with discontent about high cost of living, inflation, and criticism about a poor rollout of the COVID vaccine.

Coming up behind Macron, and making slight gains, is Marine Le Pen, campaigning on France’s cost of living crisis. The far-right politician and her anti-immigration National Rally party have softened their tone since defeat in the 2017 elections, and while migration and security remain central to her manifesto, her current focus is on putting money back into the pockets of French citizens as prices surge.

Another name of note in the campaign is Eric Zemmour, a journalist known for his attacks on Muslims and immigrants. He was a dark horse early on in the campaign, but has since slipped down the polls. His supporters, however, still rank among the most motivated.

And the reason that his supporters are key? Because abstention is likely to have a massive impact on the first round of polling. For now, it appears no one candidate will get more than fifty percent of the vote – paving the way for a second round of voting on April 24.

In this episode we’ll look at the candidates, the campaigns of Macron and Le Pen, and how voter abstention could change the course of a watershed French election.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Rim-Sarah Alouane, @RimSarah
Legal scholar, and PhD candidate in Comparative Law, University Toulouse-Capitole

Sonia Dridi, @Sonia_Dridi
Correspondent, France 24

Source: Al Jazeera

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