French Presidential Elections First Round

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Date: 
Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 17:30

The first round of the 2017 French presidential election will be held on 23 April 2017. Should no candidate win a majority, a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held on 7 May 2017.

Incumbent president François Hollande of the Socialist Party (PS) is eligible to run for a second term, but declared on 1 December 2016 that he would not seek reelection in light of low approval ratings. He is the first incumbent president of the Fifth Republic not to run for a second term. This is also the first French presidential election in which nominees of both the main centre-left and centre-right parties were selected through open primaries. A total of 11 candidates will contest the first round. The presidential election will be followed by a legislative election to elect members of the National Assembly on 11 and 18 June.

François Fillon of the Republicans and Marine Le Pen of the National Front led in first-round opinion polls between November 2016 and mid-January 2017. Polls tightened considerably by late January and early February 2017, with Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! slowly rising in the polls and Benoît Hamon of the Socialist Party gaining ground after winning the left-wing primary on 29 January. After the satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné published revelations about Fillon's use of nearly €1 million in public funds to employ his wife as a parliamentary assistant for little work in late January, in what came to be known as "Penelopegate", Macron overtook Fillon to come consistently second in first-round polling. Polls for the second round of voting suggest that either Fillon or Macron would beat Le Pen and that Macron would defeat Fillon.

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