French presidential election 2017: what happens next?

The dust has barely settled on Sunday’s first-round vote, but already attention is turning to what happens next.

This week

The two victors, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, will take to the campaign trail again for a final flurry, as they seek to scoop up floating voters and capitalise on any endorsements from other candidates.

On Wednesday, the results from the first round will be officially announced, though this is purely a formality.

Next week

Monday 1 May promises to be something of a flashpoint as traditional May Day manifestations bring out demonstrators from across the political spectrum. Trade unions and others in the labour movement will march in dozens of cities, while the Front National also marks the day by commemorating its adopted symbol, Joan of Arc, in Paris.

Wednesday 3 May

A live television debate between the two candidates will be held. These have proved to be tetchy affairs in the past, but rarely deliver a knockout blow.

Friday 5 May

Campaigning and polling must stop by law on Friday 5 May, leaving a day of grace before …

Sunday 7 May

Polls open at 8am and close at 8pm. The winner is likely to be known within hours, but the swearing-in ceremony usually does not take place until several days after the election.

The presidentials are followed by parliamentary elections, which will have a significant bearing on what the new president can achieve. In 2012, Hollande’s Socialist party won 280 seats, slightly short of an outright majority in the 577-seat Assemblée Nationale.

The in-tray

The new president – France’s third inside a decade – faces perhaps the most formidable in-tray of any. Security will top the agenda, with the emphasis on how to stop the volley of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 230 people in the country in the past 18 months.

The economy comes a close second – figures for French GDP growth for the first quarter of 2017 are due to be released shortly before the second-round vote and should show that a modest recovery continues. But it is geographically patchy and fitful, and seems to be having little effect on an unemployment rate that persists stubbornly above 10%.

The new president will be a key figure in shaping Brexit talks, and will also be instrumental in defining the all-important Franco-German relationship at the heart of the EU.

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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