French Election 2017: Meet The Candidates

Front National (FN) –  National Front


Age: 48

2012 Result: 3rd (17.9%)

Description: President of the National Front since 2011, Marine Le Pen is an experienced politician, and a decisive figure in French politics. Daughter of far right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, she has led a movement of “de-demonization of the Front National” to detoxify it and soften its image, yet faces criticism for her far-right and anti-EU views.


Les Républicains (LR) – The Republicans


Age: 62 

Description: Prime Minister of France from 2007 – 2012, François Fillon is seen as one of the front runners in the presidential election. Described as a reformist liberal, he has been compared to Margaret Thatcher due to his ambition to reduce the size of the state.



En Marche! (EM) – Forward!

Emmanuel Macron


Age: 39

Description: Most recently French Minister of the Economy, Emmanuel Macron founded En Marche! in August 2016 to launch a centralist bid for the French Presidency. As well as being a former Rothschild banker, Macron was also a member of the Socialist Party from 2006 – 2009.



La France insoumise (LFI) – Unsubmissive France

Jean-Luc Mélenchon assured to have the 500 signatures of elected officials by the end of the week


Age: 65

2012 Result: 4th (11.1%)

Description: A member of the Socalist Party from 1976 – 2008, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is an experienced left wing politican who insists on the importance of “popular involvement” through public referendums on any essential subject.  He founded the party La France insoumise (Unsubmissive France) in February 2016.


Debout la France (DLR) – France Arise

Name: Nicolas Dupont-Aignan

Age: 55

2012 Result: 7th (1.79%)

Description: A member of the center right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party until January 2007, he has been the founder and the president of Debout la France (France Arise) since 2008. Dupont-Aignan strongly advocates leaving the euro, calling it a “racket”, and proposes returning to the franc and retaining the Euro only as a reserve currency.


Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA) – New Anti Capitalist Party

Name: Philippe Poutou

Age: 49

2012 Result: 8th (1.15%)

Description: Philippe Poutou began his political career as a trade unionist at Ford in 2007, playing a leading role in negotiations about the potential loss of 2000 jobs. He won leadership of the New Anti Capitalist Party in 2011 and led a campaign in 2012 saying he did not want to be President, and would abolish the Presidency in favour of a parliamentary system if he won.


Europe Écologie – Les Verts (EELV) – Europe Ecology – The Greens

Name: Yannick Jadot

Age: 49

Description: Yannick Jadot is is a French environmentalist and Member of the European Parliament. He co-ordinated Greenpeace actions in France between 2002 and 2008 before leaving in 2009 to join Europe Écologie and win election to the European Parliament. He was selected at candidate for The Greens in November 2016.



Lutte Ouvrière (LO) – Workers’ Struggle

Name: Nathalie Arthaud

Age: 46

Description:Nathalie Arthaud is a teacher of economics and leader of Workers’ Struggle since 2010. Arthaud is also an elected town councillor for Vaulx-en-Velin, in charge of youth matters.




Parti socialiste ( ) – Socialist Party

The Socialist Party presidential primary will be held on 22 January 2017, with a runoff election to be held on 29 January between the two candidates with the most votes should no candidate win 50 percent of the vote.

Name: Manuel Valls

Age: 54

Description: Manuel Valls was Minister of the Interior from 2012 to 2014 and Prime Minister from 2014 to 2016. He is regarded as belonging to the Socialist Party’s social liberal wing, sharing common orientations with Blairism.



Name: Arnaud Montebourg

Age: 54

Desc: Arnaud Montebourg was Minister of Industrial Renewal from 2012 to 2014, as well as a member of Manual Valls short lived 2014 government, where he was replaced by Emmanuel Macron. He identifies with the left of the Socialist Party and placed third in the Socialist Party’s primary election for the 2012 presidential election, receiving about 17% of the votes.



Name: Vincent Peillon

Age: 56

Desc: Vincent Peillon was Minister of Education from 2012 to 2014, and a MEP for North West France since 2014.  He was a last minute entry to the Socialist Primary, though is by no means a newcomer to the party, having been involved. Unlike his rivals, he has defended François Hollande’s record in office, singling out Manuel Valls’s “brutal” tactics for criticism instead.



Name: Benoît Hamon

Age: 49

Desc: Benoît Hamon was MEP of Eastern France from 2004 to 2009. He was also briefly Minister of Education from April until August 2014, before resigning as Francois Hollande’s abandonment of a socialist agenda. Critical of the social-liberal politics conducted by the French president François Hollande and the Prime Minister Manuel Valls, he represents the left-wing and politically green side of the Socialist Party.

The following candidates are from groups allied with the Socialist party and are participating in the French Socialist Party presidential primary

Parti Radical de Gauche (PRG) Radical Party of the Left

Name: Sylvia Pinel

Age: 39

Desc: A relative newcomer to French politics, Sylvia Pinel was most recently Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing under Valls’ first government. President of the Radical Party of the Left since 2016, she is the only female in the left primary, and at 39, is also the primary’s youngest candidate.


Écologistes () Ecologist Party

Name: François de Rugy

Age: 43

Desc: The deputy head of France’s National Assembly, de Rugy casts himself as a pragmatic reformist, opposed to the intransigent stance associated with the more leftist EELV. In 2015, he broke with EELV to form his own party, Écologistes!, which supports the administration of François Hollande.


Front Démocrate () Democratic Front

Name: Jean-Luc Bennahmias

Age: 62

Desc: Starting his career as a journalist, Jean-Luc Bennahmias entered politics as National secretary of the Green Party in 1997. As well as many roles within both the Green Party and the Democratic movement, he was also an MEP from 2004 to 2014. He left the centralist Democratic Movement in 2014 to form his own centre-left movement, the Democratic Front