Posts Tagged ‘French presidential election’
Can Le Pen beat Macron in the French election, despite losing in the first round? “The odds are very long.”April 26, 2017
Asian stocks near 2-year high, euro steady as French vote lifts mood — UK deficit falls to lowest level since 2008April 25, 2017
- FTSE 100: +0.28pc
- DAX: -0.01pc
- CAC 40: +0.38pc
- IBEX: -0.13pc
David Cheetham, of XTB, said: “After some sharp moves on the European open yesterday, this morning has seen a sense of calm restored as markets continue to digest the recent political events in France. The FTSE 100 has added to Monday’s gains and has now recovered most of the losses seen last week following the announcement of a snap general election in the UK. In an interesting divergence which reveals a shift in driving forces on the markets, the pound remains well supported and not far from 2017 highs seen last week against the US dollar with the inverse correlation between these two subsiding somewhat in recent trade.”
Resurgent euro keeps pound under pressure
The pound remains under pressure today at the hands of a resurgent euro, which rallied yesterday as markets began to price in a Macron presidency.
Although it regained some momentum in early trade, the pound remains down 0.04pc on the day at 1.1783 against the euro.
Yesterday, the pound suffered its worst day against the euro since early January, falling around 1.4pc.
Institute of Chartered Accountants: Significant amount of work to do to repair public finances
Commenting on UK public finances, Ross Campbell from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said: “Whatever the outcome on June 8, it’s important to recognise there is still a significant amount of work to be done to repair the public finances – which are projected to stay in deficit for years to come.
“Whoever is Chancellor after the election will need to employ robust fiscal measures to tackle the massive level of public indebtedness we currently see today.
“While Brexit may dominate the pre-election narrative, it is equally important that all party manifestos tackle structural problems that plague the UK’s economy – including the longstanding problems of Government spending more that it earns and a lack of incentives to drive economic growth.”
IHS Markit: UK public finances figures ‘pleasing and welcome news’ for Chancellor Hammond
Weighing in on the UK public finances data, economist Howard Archer, of IHS Markit, said the figures were both “pleasing and welcome news” for Chancellor Philip Hammond as he essentially met the markedly lowered 2016/17 fiscal target contained in the March budget.
Go to The Telegraph:
France: Marine Le Pen steps down as Front National leader to widen appeal, concentrate on presidential bidApril 25, 2017
The move appears to be a way of embracing a wider range of voters
By Shehab Khan
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has announced she is temporarily stepping down as leader of the Front National (FN) to concentrate on her presidential bid
Ms Le Pen said she was taking “a leave of absence” from leading the FN to focus on campaigning, in a move that appeared to be a mere formality that changes nothing in her campaign platform.The move does seem aimed as a way of embracing a wider range of voters ahead of her runoff against centrist Emmanuel Macron.
She told France 2 television: “I will feel more free and above all, above party politics, which I think is important.”
Ms Le Pen has said for months she is not, strictly speaking, an FN candidate but a candidate backed by the FN. She has long distanced herself from her maverick father Jean-Marie, the former FN leader, and in the election campaign has put neither her party’s name nor its trademark flame logo on her posters.
She has repeatedly said the policy platform on which she has stood is hers and not reflective of the FN.
“Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate,” Ms Le Pen said on French public television news.
Ms Le Pen had previously attempted to clean up the party’s racist and anti-Semitic image as she tried to appeal to voters on both the left and the right.
Final results from the French presidential election’s first round showed that Mr Macron got nearly one million more votes than Ms Le Pen. Mr Macron collected 8.66 million votes, or 24.01 per cent, while Ms Le Pen garnered 7.68 million votes, or 21.30 per cent, according to the official final count published by the Interior Ministry.
For Ms Le Pen, it is the best result ever achieved by her FN party in a French presidential election.
Conservative candidate Francois Fillon got 20.01 per cent, and left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, 19.58 percent of the vote. The other seven candidates were far behind.
The final round of voting for the French Presidency will take place on 7 May, and Mr Macron is currently thought to be the favourite.
Opening the battle for second-round votes, Ms Le Pen highlighted the continuing threat of Islamist militancy, which has claimed more than 230 lives in France since 2015, saying the 39-year-old Mr Macron was “to say the least, weak” on the issue.
She also said she wanted to talk to sovereignist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who won nearly five per cent of the first-round vote and has not said which side he would take in the next.
“His platform is extremely close to ours. Patriots should come together to fight those who promote unbridled globalisation,” she said.
Ms Le Pen has promised to suspend the EU’s open-border agreement on France’s frontiers and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.
Mr Macron’s internal security programme calls for 10,000 more police officers, and 15,000 new prison places, and he has recruited a number of security experts to his entourage.
However, opinion polls over the course of the campaign have consistently found voters were more concerned about the economy and the trustworthiness of politicians.
Ms Le Pen’s campaign took aim on Monday at what they see as further weak spots: Mr Macron’s previous job as an investment banker and his role as a deregulating economy minister under outgoing President Francois Hollande.
As for Mr Hollande, he has urged people to back Mr Macron, saying Ms Le Pen, represented a “risk” for France.
Opinion polls indicate that the business-friendly Mr Macron, who has never held elected office, will take at least 61 percent of the vote against Ms Le Pen after two defeated rivals pledged to back him to thwart her eurosceptic, anti-immigrant platform.
Mr Hollande, a Socialist nearing the end of five years of unpopular rule, threw his weight behind his former economy minister in a televised address, saying Ms Le Pen’s policies were divisive and stigmatised sections of the population.
“The presence of the far right in the second round is a risk for the country,” he said. “What is at stake is France’s make-up, its unity, its membership of Europe and its place in the world.”
Agencies contributed to this report
From the BBC
Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has announced that she is stepping aside as leader of her National Front (FN) party.
The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.
Ms Le Pen told French TV she needed to be above partisan considerations.
Opinion polls suggest Mr Macron is firm favourite for the second round but Ms Le Pen said: “We can win, we will win.”
The French term she used signalled that the move to step aside would be temporary.
She told France 2 that France was approaching a “decisive moment”.
- A guide to the final candidates
- French election poll tracker
- The French have voted against the system: Voters react
- Five things we learned from round one
- Europe reacts to French election
- Markets sense relief after French vote
- Online calls for boycott
Ms Le Pen said her decision had been made out of the “profound conviction” that the president must bring together all of the French people.
“So, this evening, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the candidate for the French presidency,” she said.
Ms Le Pen had already airbrushed out her party’s name, and her own surname, from campaign posters in a bid to woo voters from the Left and Right, as well as in recent years “detoxifying” her party’s racist, anti-Semitic image.
Sunday’s first round upturned France’s political landscape as candidates from the mainstream Left and Right were eliminated and the two finalists both claimed to be “anti-system” champions.
See map of where Le Pen votes came from in France:
The final results saw Mr Macron, an independent centrist who created his movement En Marche! (Onwards) only a year ago, take pole position on 24.01 per cent, with Ms Le Pen of the far-Right Front National second on 21.3 per cent.
François Fillon, the conservative runner, was a close third on 20.01 per cent, just ahead of Communist-backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon on 19.58 per cent, while Benoît Hamon, the official candidate of the ruling Socialist Party, came fifth on just 6.36 per cent.
France: Emmanuel Macron says not to “give in to fear” — Le Pen says reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch listsApril 21, 2017
After Paris Attack
LE PEN: EXPEL FOREIGNERS WHO ARE ON WATCH LISTS
BYREUTERS APRIL 21, 2017 12:49
En Marche candidate Emmanuel Macron urged the country not to “give in to fear” in the wake of the attack.
Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a political rally near Toulon. (photo credit REUTERS)
Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Friday that France should immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services, adding that these were steps she would take, if elected.
Seizing on Thursday night’s killing of a police officer in an attack claimed by Islamic State, Le Pen, who has been campaigning on a hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration platform, urged the Socialist government to carry out immediately measures that are included in her campaign manifesto.
“We cannot afford to lose this war. But for the past ten years, left-wing and right-wing governments have done everything they can for us to lose it. We need a presidency which acts and protects us,” Le Pen told reporters at her campaign headquarters.
French voters elect a president in a two-round vote on April 23 and May 7. Opinion polls have for months forecast that Le Pen would make it through to the run-off, but then lose in the final vote.
Until now, Le Pen had struggled to get the campaign to focus on her party’s trademark tough security and immigration stance. By contrast, she has been thrown on the defensive over her position to pull out of the euro zone, a proposal that lacks wide support.
Referring disparagingly to outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande as “notoriously feeble,” Le Pen said: “I only ask one last-ditch effort from him before leaving power: I solemnly ask him to effectively reinstate our borders.”
She added: “Elected president of the Republic, I would immediately, and with no hesitation, carry out the battle plan against Islamist terrorism and against judicial laxity.”
Several other presidential candidates made public statements in response to the Champs Elysees shooting.
French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron urged the country not to “give in to fear” in the wake of the attack.
“We clearly see that the challenge we have in front of us over the coming years will continue to be fighting against terrorism. Because we will not erase it overnight, and for the final stretch of this campaign our challenge is, on the one hand, to bring about the response, to shed light on the democratic choice in this context. But to never give in to fear,” the En Marche candidate said on Friday.
Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon also spoke on Friday, saying that the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” should be the priority of France’s next president.
Fillon, who has been campaigning on a hardline security platform, told reporters: “We are at war, there is no alternative, it’s us or them.”
“Radical Islam is challenging our values and our strength of character.”
It is unclear what impact the attack will have on the first round of already very unpredictable presidential elections on Sunday.
With their hardline view on security and immigration, Le Pen and Francois Fillon may resonate with some voters.
But other attacks that took place shortly before elections – the November 2015 attacks in Paris ahead of regional elections and the shooting in a Jewish school before the 2012 presidential elections – did not have any effect on those ballots.
Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces — Spent 15 years in prison for shooting officers — On watch list after recent arrest — Informants last month said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’
© AFP/File / by Guy JACKSON | With just three days to go until voting in the first round on Sunday, the French presidential election race has tightened dramatically
PARIS (AFP) – Candidates in the French presidential election have their final chance Thursday to speak to the nation in a series of televised interviews, in which scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon has perhaps the most to prove.
All 11 candidates ranging from centrist Emmanuel Macron, who is narrowly leading the field, to minnows like Philippe Poutou, a Ford factory mechanic polling at 1.5 percent, will be interviewed on France 2 television for 15 minutes each.
With just three days to go until the first round on Sunday, the race — which could decide the future of the European Union — has tightened dramatically.
Opinion polls show Fillon and Macron, both pro-EU, locked in a tight four-way contest with far-right leader Marine Le Pen and hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, both eurosceptics, making it the most unpredictable election in years.
Three surveys showed Macron having a slight edge over Le Pen with 23-25 percent against 22-23 percent.
Fillon and Melenchon were tied at around 19 percent, after a late spurt that has put them within striking distance of the frontrunners.
The top two will advance to a run-off vote on May 7.
– Investor jitters –
The spectre of an EU-bashing final between Le Pen and Melenchon — one of six possible line-ups — has caused nervousness among investors and thrust Europe to the top of the agenda.
Le Pen is proposing to a referendum on France’s membership of the EU after negotiations with Brussels on returning most key powers to national capitals. She also wants to scrap the euro and bring back the French franc.
Former prime minister Fillon has tried to rebound from an expenses scandal by presenting himself as a safe, experienced pair of hands at a time of deep global uncertainty following Britain’s decision to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s rise to the White House.
The 63-year-old candidate for the conservative Republicans party was the early leader in a race that had been seen as a walkover for the right after five years of troubled Socialist rule.
But he lost ground after being charged over accusations that he put his wife Penelope on the public payroll for a fictitious job as his parliamentary assistant, for which she was paid nearly 700,000 euros ($750,000).
– ‘Poison of terrorism’ –
Fillon used the arrest of two men apprehended in Marseille on suspicion of planning an attack on the election as an illustration of the dangers France faces — and the potential weaknesses of his opponents.
He aimed particular criticism at 39-year-old Macron, who spent two years as economy minister in the current Socialist government but has never held elected office.
“On the fight against radical Islam, as with everything else, Macron is vague,” Fillon told the right-leaning Le Figaro newspaper on Thursday.
Fillon confirmed that he had been warned by police last week that he had been earmarked as a “target” by jihadists.
Although prosecutors have refused to say if the two men arrested were aiming to attack a particular candidate, Fillon said of himself that it was “not out of the question that the candidate who has the most radical plan to take on Islamic terrorism be the target”.
He also returned to a message he has hammered home in recent weeks — that he alone among the leading candidates could secure a “strong” majority in the legislative elections that follow in June.
Le Pen has also sought to capitalise on the arrests in Marseille, accusing her rivals of turning a blind eye to Islamic terrorism.
Addressing 5,000 flag-waving supporters in Marseille, the city where the men were detained, on Wednesday, she said: “I have been denouncing this terrible poison of Islamic terrorism since I launched my campaign… and none of my rivals are willing to debate the subject.
“They wanted to stay quiet about this problem, to suppress it, to keep it at a distance like one sweeps dust under the carpet.”
Le Pen, 48, has spent years trying to build support for the National Front (FN) by campaigning on bread-and-butter issues such as the economy, but in the final days of the race she has returned to the party’s stock themes of national security and immigration.
On Wednesday, she repeated that she would slash immigration, make it harder to obtain French nationality and crack down on suspected Islamists.