Five charts to explain the key issues shaping France’s presidential race

Five charts to explain the key issues shaping France’s presidential race

From the “gilets jaunes” (“yellow vest”) protests to the COVID pandemic to war on the doorstep of the EU, much has changed since Emmanuel Macron was elected five years ago.

But to what extent will these issues affect voters in France’s presidential election in April. And, if not, what topics do matter to the French?

Here we take a look at what French voters care about the most.

Inflation and the cost of living
Recent polls have shown that purchasing power, the ability to buy goods, remains a top concern for French voters, especially amid record-high inflation in Europe.

Inflation hit 5.1% in the eurozone this year, driven up by energy prices and high demand following strict COVID-19 restrictions in many countries.

It’s expected to rise by at least 2% more in the euro area due to the war in Ukraine, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

France’s presidential candidates have different responses to voters’ concerns about money, from far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon’s suggestion to block prices and increase social measures, to far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Zemmour’s calls to cancel social aid for foreigners to save money.

It’s also launched a debate about the efficiency of sanctions against Russia and its influence on prices.

Concerns about purchasing power are interrelated with other economic concerns, experts say, such as energy prices, housing prices and travel costs.

Rising energy costs due to the Russian invasion are set to take centre stage during the election debate, with new conversations about dependence on Russian oil and gas.

“Soaring fuel prices make travel expensive and prevent people from living in areas other than urban centres where you can count on alternatives to owning a car,” said Romain Meltz, a researcher at the Lumière University Lyon 2.

He added that French politicians don’t have many answers for concerns about an urban/rural divide in France.

One of the most turbulent episodes of Macron’s last five years in office was the “gilets jaunes” protests that erupted across the country in 2018 following a rise in the fuel tax.

Economist Nicolas Veron told Euronews that the economic situation will likely be both a “plus and a minus” for Macron as the French economy saw both record growth in 2021 at the same time as high inflation.

Source By : euronews


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