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All scenarios possible in French election, says expert

Staff Writer | April 20, 2017
All scenarios are possible in the looming presidential election in France, a senior expert in French politics told Xinhua, ahead of the first round of votes on Sunday.
French elections
France   Paris Institute of Political Studies
Madani Cheurfa, secretary-general of the Political Research Center of Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), said the uncertainty is due to a large proportion of undecided voters, who account for 34 percent in a recent poll.

An expected lower turnout is also one of the reasons that make this election "unprecedented", according to Cheurfa.

"The poll shows that only 72 to 77 percent of the respondents said they would vote, while the regular rate is between 78 and 80 percent," he said.

Recalling the previous elections, Cheurfa said that usually as of mid-March the tendency would have become quite clear with "two favorites standing out" in the polls, but this year it is not the case.

Polls show that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, far-right Marine Le Pen, far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon and right-wing conservative Francois Fillon are the four frontrunners of a total of 11 candidates.

The two candidates who get the most votes from the first round will move on to a second round on May 7. In case a candidate secures over 50 percent of the votes in the first round, he or she will claim victory without a runoff vote.

"There's a tendency among French voters that they are not voting for someone, but against someone. That is to say, they could vote for anyone except the one that they are against. This naturally brings even bigger uncertainty," said Cheurfa.