This Sunday, the first round of the French Presidential election will take place. The result, if frontrunner French Socialist candidate François Hollande wins (as widely predicted), could be a shift to the left for one of the most powerful countries in Europe. This would mark a change in the fortunes of Europe’s centre-left, which have endured a losing-streak since the 2008 financial crisis broke, so that now a majority of EU member-states are currently run by centre-right governments.
Mr Hollande is reported to have a decisive lead of around 10 percentage points and is likely to win the second round of votes, due to be held on 6 May, if none of the candidates get more than half the votes in the first round on Sunday. Last week, both Hollande and Sarkozy gathered their supporters in two big rallies in Paris. Whilst Hollande called Sarkozy’s term in office “five years of injustice and austerity”, the incumbent French President conceded that the European Central Bank should do more to revive economic growth. Not, of course, a narrative that will enormously please German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has consistently supported ECB independence. Whoever wins, could we be about to witness a shift away from an austerity-based approach to economic recovery?
How do YOU think French elections will affect the EU? Will France have a socialist government soon? How would this influence the negotiations over the new “rule book” for the Eurozone, currently being led by centre-right leaders? And if Sarkozy is re-elected instead, will the French relationship with Germany be forever altered? What happens to “Merkozy”? Let us know your comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.