This page is one of the annex pages of, the foremost site on Franco-American intercultural differences. It contains documents, facts and figures illustrating the content of some of its pages.

The 2017 Presidential election
The campaign and what happened just before
Facts & figures about the elections
  • So far, the campaign is a disaster, as never seen before : the elimination of the most popular candidates, no campaign on ideas and projects, a new scandal every day.
  • Nothing happened as expected and France has never seen a campaign like this one !
    • The President renounced running for a second term, given his incredibly low popularity.
    • The Primaries eliminated the expected (moderate) winners : Alain Juppé (Right) and Manuel Valls (Left) to choose the candidate the more on the Right (Francois Fillon) and the more on the Left (Benoit Hamon)
    • Emmanuel Macron, a quasi-unknown candidate who was the Minister of Finance in the cabinet and is young with no previous political experience decided to run alone
  • Scandal ! All the polls forecasted a large victory of Francois Fillon in January, when the press (Canard Enchaine) revealed that, for almost 15 years, he had recruited his wife and histwo children as parlementiary assistants, paid by the National Assembly when they were not doing any work at all for a total of around $1 million salaries. Other scandals were revealed (a personal zero-interest loan from a billionnaire who also recruited his wife for a phony job, a "friend" presenting him $40,000 worth of tailormade suits, etc). He was indicted March 15. Of course, he must be considered innocent until the judgement but the effect was disastrous on potential voters as he is not the only politician who got caught. However he decided he would run anyway ... More on the scandal.
  • The two candidates representing the two major political parties cannot possibly win : one (Fillon) because his image has been destroyed by scandal, the other one (Hamon) because a large majority of his own party does not support him.
  • Outsiders ! Conversely, the two outsiders are questionable : thankfully, Marine Le Pen is still strongly rejected and Emmanuel Macron was unknown two years ago and is likely to become the President when, at age 39, he has never been elected before.
  • More to come ...
  • The election took place April 23 (first round) and May 7 (second round). After the first run, which selected Macron and Le Pen, the next president will be Emmanuel Macron, elected with 65%.The voter participation was 74%, a historical low (Melechon did not ask his voters to vote for Macfron and against Le Pen and her extreme-Right National Front.
  • The presidential election will be followed (June 11 and June 25) by the election of the deputies to the National Assembly. It is likely that Macron would not win a clear majority in the National Assembly

  • The number of voters isaround 47 million.

  • The French are still fond of politics ! Almost 11 million people watched the first official debate between the 5 main competitors on March 20 and more than 16 the finale debate between Macron and Le Pen.

  • More to come ...


Emmanuel Macron, age 39, the newly elected President.

On May 7, 2017, the day he was elected, before he gave his first thank you address near the Louvre pyramid, he had the European anthem played to show that Europe will be in the core of his policy.



Main candidates (from Extreme Left to Extreme Right)


Benoit HAMON
Emmanuel MACRON
Francois FILLON
Marine LE PEN
Political side Extreme Left Socialist Center Left Right Extreme Right
Who he/she is? An experienced politician who left the Socialist party to launch his own A typical Socialist apparatchik who has never worked outside of the party A typical product of the French elite, former partner at Rothschild bank A professional politician, former Prime Minister A lawyer, the daughter of the founder of the Front National
Last poll before official campaign(°)
as of today
less than 10%?
now leading
below 17% ?
slightly declining
Last poll before vote
Program Nationalizations, more taxes, retirement at age 60, more public expenses and investment, ... More taxes for all, creation of half a million jobs in the non profit sector, ... Less taxes, public investments, a profound reform of the retirement system, ... A dramatic cut in public expenses, less taxes, end of the 35-hour week, ... Leaving Europe and the Euro, taxing foreigners' jobs, duties on imports, ...
Most absurd project (°°)

Re-negotiating the debt

Clearly anti-Europe

Wants France to join the Bolivarian Alliance (with Venezuela and Cuba)

A $800 fixed income for everybody from age 18 to death.

A tax on robots.

One-month military service for all

Half a million civil servants less (probably too tough for the country)

Abandoning the Euro and the European Union


Clearly anti-Europe

Most stupid quote (°°) "(if I am not elected), people will spit blood" "What you have to understand is that a young person who wants to settle down or build a family does not necessarily feel like working" "In Algeria, France is guilty of crime against humanity"

Q.: "How much money can you save each month?"

A.: "Very frankly, I can't save any money"

"France was not involved in the 1942 Vel d'Hiv round-up"

(°) BVA - 18/3/2017

(°°) Of course, these comments reflect my personal opinion...

"Little"candidates (from Extreme Left to Extreme Right)
Nathalie ARTHAUD
Philippe POUTOU
Political side Trotskist Trotskist Regionalist Was close to Lyndon LaRouche Right Right
Who he/she is? A High School teacher in Economics (poor kids...) A real worker in a real industrial firm Presents himself as a shepherd A former high ranking public servant A former high ranking public servant A former high ranking public servant
Last poll before official campaign
as of today
Last poll before vote
Program A classical Communist program A classical Communist program A "back to our roots" policy Hard to follow.... Hard to follow ... Right-Wing Gaullist, ...
Most absurd project

Forbidding lay-offs

Forbidding salaries less than $2,000

Forbidding lay-offs


Explicitly anti-American

Only candidate pro Frexit

Clearly anti-Europe
Most stupid quote "I want to freeze the social situation of the firms (…) they must stop cutting jobs" "We must cancel precarious jobs and the so-called status of self-employed to be replaced by the generalization of unlimited hiring (CDI)" "We need to bring back in fashion rural France and rehabilitate all provinces" "We are at war. A consortium of financial interests is dominating the world, from the City and from Wall Street" "We must simultaneously exit from the European Union and from NATO" "We need to renegociate a new treaty which would give back their liberty to the nations by limiting the competences of the European Union"


A few details about the candidates and their programs ...   What did we learn from this election ?
  • The core of the program of Benoit Hamon is the "Revenu Universel " i.e. everybody (from age 18, rich or poor) receives a monthly allocation of around $800. A detail : the cost of this project is avec $400 b. a year (French GNP is around $2,400 b.). Read about the history of French Socialislm.
  • Emmanuel Macron is young (39) and smart, with new ideas. However, he has never been elected and nobody knows how he would do in political life
  • Francois Fillon has a program of "sweat and tears" which requires a strong leadership. A detail : he is completely discredited after the disclosure of a financial scandal involving himself and his family.
  • Apart from her unacceptable political program, by all standards, the economic program of Marine Le Pen does not make any sense and would lead to a tragic bankruptcy.
  • Jean-Luc Melenchon has solved the problem of the debt of the State (almost 100% of the budget) : tell the investors that they will not be paid back.
  • More to come ....

(to be confirmed)

  • A failure of the system of Primaries, which does not seem consistent with the political traditions and the Constitution.
  • Distrust of the political parties : whatever the result, the two major parties (Socialist on the Left and Republicains on the Right) are severely damaged and will need time to heal. The results of the first round are clear, none of the two winners belongs to them. It is as if in US, the President was neither Republican nor Democrat.
  • The political class is so cut from the real world that they do not understand how shocked the citizens can be by the financial scandals involving politicians.
  • The Extreme Right is getting stronger and stronger and, before the election, it is clear that it could win, which had never happened before (read the history of Extreme Right in France).
  • More to come ...

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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