The main candidates for the French presidential election: who is proposing what?

Paris: The French presidential race involves a frontrunner, incumbent centrist Emmanuel Macron, and eleven challengers from far left to far right. The top two candidates from Sunday’s first round advance to the second round on April 24.

Here is an overview of the key proposals of the leading candidates.

EMMANUEL MACRON, 44, outgoing centrist, leader of the La République en Marche party

Ukraine: Macron has been at the forefront of international talks on supporting Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia. Macron pledges to continue investing in the French army and to “significantly” strengthen the capabilities and cooperation of European armed forces.

Economy: Macron promises “full employment”, after the unemployment rate fell during his 2017-2022 term to its lowest level in a generation. He wants to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 and increase the minimum monthly pension.

Energy: It undertakes to build six new-generation nuclear reactors, to develop solar energy and offshore wind power.

Immigration: Macron is pushing for the strengthening of the external borders of the passport-free European area and the creation of a new force to better control national borders. He promises to speed up the processing of asylum applications and residence permits and deport those who are not eligible.

MARINE LE PEN, 53, far-right leader of the National Rally

France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen is seen as Macron’s main challenger. Le Pen’s plans include ending family reunification, restricting social benefits to French people only, deporting foreigners who remain unemployed for more than a year and other migrants who entered the country illegally.
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Ukraine: Marine Le Pen has cultivated ties with Moscow, receiving a €9 million loan from a Russian bank in 2014 and meeting Putin in 2017. She acknowledged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had “partially” changed his opinion of Putin, saying he was “wrong”. “She says she supports the Ukrainian people and that refugees should be welcomed.

Immigration: Le Pen’s plans include ending family reunification policies, restricting social benefits to French people only, and deporting foreigners who remain unemployed for more than a year and other migrants who entered illegally.

Economy and energy: She promises to reduce taxes on energy and essential goods. She wants to maintain the minimum retirement age at 62 and increase the minimum pension. It has pledged to dismantle wind farms and invest in nuclear and hydropower.

Policies related to Muslims: Le Pen promised a law banning the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in all public places and banning events and fundraising deemed to propagate “Islamism”.

JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, 70, far left

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, far-left French presidential candidate

The far-left French candidate for the 2022 presidential election, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, supports the Ukrainian “resistance” and the Russians who oppose the war.
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Ukraine: Mélenchon used to refer to Russia as a “partner”, even as European governments struggled to find ways to avoid a Russian invasion of Ukraine. He now supports the Ukrainian “resistance” and the Russians who are fighting what he calls the “dictatorship” in their own country.

Economy: Mélenchon promises to increase the minimum wage and minimum pension in France, and to lower the retirement age to 60. He wants to reinstate a wealth tax.

Climate and energy: He promises to enshrine a “green rule” in the Constitution that calls for not using more resources than nature can replenish and an end to intensive agriculture. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% ​​in 2030 _ instead of current coal by 40%. He wants the state to lock in energy and food prices and promises to phase out nuclear power and aim for 100% renewable energy instead.

ERIC ZEMMOUR, 63, a former far-right TV pundit who has been repeatedly convicted of hate speech

The far-right candidate for the French presidential election Eric Zemmour

Far-right French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour wants France to step out of NATO military command and make its own security choices.
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Ukraine: Zemmour was initially in favor of an “alliance” with Russia, and once wished aloud for a “French Putin”. This was before Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which he condemned. He initially said he would prefer Ukrainian refugees to stay in Poland, but later backed granting them visas if they had ties to France. Zemmour wants France to withdraw from NATO’s military command.

Immigration: He wants asylum status to be limited to no more than 100 people a year – up from around 54,000 last year. It would end social benefits for non-EU foreigners, ban immigration for family reunification, create a military coastguard force to stop arrivals by sea and deport any migrant who enters without permission.

Policies related to Muslims: Zemmour wants a ban on the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in all public spaces, a ban on the construction of large mosques and a ban on foreign funding of the Muslim faith. He proposes restricting the names parents can give their newborns, de facto banning many names used by French Muslims.

Economy and energy: He promised to cut taxes on businesses, low-income workers, pensioners with small pensions and give families a bonus for children born in rural areas. He wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030. He said he would end all wind farms and pledged to develop nuclear power.

VALERIE PECRESSE, 54, candidate for the conservative Les Républicains party

French conservative candidate Valérie Pécresse

The French conservative candidate for the next presidential election Valérie Pécresse wants the veil to be banned for young girls and in sports associations.
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Ukraine: Pecresse denounced Putin’s invasion and called for tough sanctions against Russia.

Policies related to Muslims: She wants the Muslim headscarf banned for young girls and in sports clubs. She also wants to ban the burkini, a swimsuit worn by conservative Muslims to cover the whole body, from swimming pools.

Immigration: Pecresse plans to establish immigration quotas. Housing and family allowances would only be granted to foreigners five years after their legal arrival in the country. No residence permits would be issued to those who entered without prior authorization.

Economy and energy: She promises to raise the wages of low- and middle-income workers by 10% and cut taxes for businesses and workers. She wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 by 2030. She is committed to developing nuclear energy and renewable energies, but with restrictions on wind farms.

Mary I. Bruner