The 2017 French presidential elections are historic and fascinating as it is seen as a litmus test on how populism has spread across the globe and comparisons are being drawn with Donald Trump’s victory in US Presidential elections and Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The outcome of the presidential elections will shape the future post world War II order of the Western Europe. Eleven candidates are in the fray but French presidential election has turned into a four- way cliffhanger and markets are nervously waiting for the outcome. The two top vote -getters will go for a runoff election that will be held on May 7.
The France elections are significant this time as many terror attacks have taken place since 2015 and the latest attack inspired by ISIS on the Champs-Elysees in which a police officer was shot dead .
French voters are looking for a change as they are fed up with high unemployment ,socialist and conservative parties that have traded power for generations have created unemployment.The French people are unhappy with globalization which facilitates terrorism, refugees problem.
These elections have actually reshaped France ‘s secularism . Laicite,the French term for secularism .Laicite “assures the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction to their origin, race or religion. It respects all religious beliefs.”But now The key contender marine Le Pen and others are using Laicite as an ideological weapon that will ensure that immigrants from different countries and religion will have to adopt themselves in the main stream French culture and lifestyle.
If Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen seizes France’s presidency than nationalistic forces will come forward to impose the agenda of anti-immigration (To ban Muslim population from other countries) ,leaving the European Union and No to the visibility of religious symbols -Jewish yarmulkes or Sikh turbans) and boost ties with Russia.
Emmanuel macron former banker and ex economy minister is also predicted to reach to the May runoff .An independent center-left Macron prefers France to remain in European Union and loosen labour rules ensuring the social safety net for business-friendly France .
Francois Fillon, mainstream right candidate has been battling corruption and nepotism charges. Fillon chances are uncertain but is committed to European Unity and business- friendly climate by reforming the country’s restrictive labour rules.
Jean-Luc Melenchon is tech savvy and has used holograms, Youtube talks, social media to woo young voters on an idea ” to take from the rich and give to the poor” .
Whatever may be the outcome of the France presidential elections ,the issues of the voters remain the same abandoning religious freedom will create a fundamentalist France to combat terrorism .