Sunday, April 23, 2017

French Elections 2017: Disintegrating Left-Right Divide Sets Stage for Political Upheaval

THE GUARDIAN: Squeezed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon on one side and Emmanuel Macron on the other, the presidential contest could mean destruction for the Socialist party

French voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first round of a presidential election that to the very end has brought little consensus or comfort and only one certainty: the result will be a political upheaval, whoever wins.

Even as they walk into their bureau de vote, many will still be undecided, faced with paper slips for an unprecedented 11 candidates, only four of them thought to be serious contenders for the Elysée palace. There is a nail-biting sense that anything could happen.

Do they vote for or against? Do they choose a candidate who represents their politics or one who, opinion polls suggest, is most likely to defeat the woman whose presence as one of two candidates in the second-round runoff in a fortnight seems a given, but whose name still provokes a frisson of fear for many: the far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen, with her anti-Europe, anti-immigration, “French-first” programme? » | Kim Willsher in Paris | Saturday, April 22, 2017