Macron is in serious trouble if Zemmour and Le Pen are not there.
Marine Le Pen has resigned from her presidential campaign. The National Rally leader, Marine Le Pen, has not been able to collect the required 500 signatures to be on the ballot for the first round, due to take place April 10. You will need to collect the signatures from every politician in your country. You can get them from any source, such as Senators, Members and Members at Large, Local Mayors or Members of Parliament.
Le Pen is currently at 393 signatures short and has over 100 to go. However, she still has time to collect the other five hundred by the deadline of March 4. Her campaign has therefore “paused,” and a number of her speaking engagements have been cancelled, suggesting that her time will instead be spent attempting to collect the required endorsements from elected officials.
Le Pen isn’t the only one feeling pressure. Eric Zemmour (the other Right candidate) is struggling to get the sponsorship letters. He currently has just 350 signatures which puts his candidacy in jeopardy.
It is clear that Le Pen and Zemmour are, as predicted, hurting each other’s prospects. It is not a leap in logic to suggest that those politicians who have signed Zemmour’s papers would, if he were not standing, have signed Le Pen’s, and vice versa. The two are now in a race for time to get onto the first round of the ballot papers.
Also, it is obvious that the system favours centrist candidates and maintains a balance between the status-quo. President Emmanuel Macron, for example, already has 1,463 signatures, and he hasn’t yet even announced he will be standing for re-election. Similarly, Valerie Pecresse, the Republican candidate who serves as the President of the Île-de-France Regional Council has 2,143 pledges, and Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate and the mayor of Paris, already has 1,177. Both these candidates have the ability to rely upon large party machinery to make sure they get on to ballot paper.
Pecresse is currently at 15% according to the most recent polls, two percentage points behind Macron. Hidalgo is however way down, polling just 2 percent. This is only 12% less than Zemmour, who is at 14%. The possibility exists that those polling fourth and fifth with the public could not see the ballot papers because they cannot get the signatures required by politicians. It would obviously be insulting for the French electorate.
French law is strange and, if I may, a bit unfair. For example, in the UK it’s the signatures of citizens that are needed to run for public office. Not the votes of politicians. Because it is the voters that votes, this seems to be an infinitely fairer process.
If Le Pen is not on the ballot, what does that mean for the election? Macron could find it unwelcome news, and this is not just an insult to Le Pen’s millions of possible voters.
The thought is that Macron would need Le Pen to run for the election because she acts as his safety valve. He will likely place her second in the first round and she will go on to the second round. Le Pen will likely lose this match-up to Macron, just as he did five years ago. He won 66% of the vote to her 34%.
Although it would be tighter this round, I doubt that Le Pen will win, even then I find it difficult to believe she could defeat her centrist rival. It is possible she has too much baggage, despite her recent efforts to cleanse her brand.
If Le Pen is unable to get enough signatures to be on the ballot, Zemmour will also fail to qualify. Many of these potential voters will switch to Pecresse, who I believe has the greatest chance to depose Macron. If Precresse can successfully manage to marry her own conservative base with the voters of Le Pen and Zemmour, then Macron’s presidency could be on a knife edge and the race could go down to the wire.
Although it is possible for Le Pen to get all the signatures required, I am still confident. Zemmour has no party machine, and he is new to politics. This makes me less optimistic. Both their fates lie in the hands and control of politicians, which suggests that democratic reform is needed in France.
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