23 April: French presidential election (rd.1)
7 May: French presidential election (rd.2)
11 and 18 June: French legislative elections
Incumbent president: Francois Hollande
New president: Emmanuel Macron
||First round results
|National Front (FN)
||Marine Le Pen
|Untamed France (FI)
The French presidential election was beset by twists, turns and scandals, making it one of the most unpredictable and intriguing campaigns ever fought. Ahead of the first round of voting on 23 April, all four leading candidates harboured realistic ambitions of claiming victory.
However, the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen took home 23.75% and 21.53% of the vote respectively, meaning they went head to head in a final round on 7 May as France made one of its most important decisions in a generation.
If Le Pen was elected she’d promised to take France out of the euro and hold a referendum on French membership of the EU. Her victory, in a founding EU nation, could have realistically led to the disintegration of the union as we know it.
However, it was the pro-European Macron who went into the run off as the overwhelming favourite to be elected president — and in the end he scored a decisive victory, taking home 66% of the final vote compared to Le Pen’s 34%. EU leaders will rest a little easier knowing that France has stemmed the flow of populism for now, although Le Pen’s score marked a historic high for the French far right.
The markets have so far responded well to Macron’s successes. There was a major rally after the first round of voting, and following his overall victory the CAC 40 hit its highest level since 2008, before dropping back. The euro also charged to a six-month high before dipping, suggesting Macron’s expected victory was already largely priced in.