We have 2 major traditional parties and one younger but strong Far-right party.
- Les Republicains (ex:UMP) are rightwing morally and economically. Although they weren't always as much liberal-economically, they have constantly shifted to the right in that side. The promaries saw the most rightwing econ and morally beating more moderate Republicans: François Fillon. Elected with a huge advantage, this politician, a follower of Thatcher, unified his party and got back many FN voters. His extreme views of society may however make it hard for him to get voters beyond the Catholic/Business coalition he built, and many socialists find him as bad as the far right.
- Le party Socialiste is a left leanning party, morally and economically. The Hollandist faction is however very centrist when it comes to economy, and is very much social-liberal. Bad results in the economy, a lot to blame on past gvts but also a poor social state of the country that is very blamable on Hollande made the party implode. They still have control of the country but very little public support; while economic progress is finally appearing Hollande decided not to be a candidate to unify the party but also the progressive parties as a hole. However a clear division of the socialists with a Montebourg (socialist) and Valls (social-liberal, actual prime-minister), added to lots of left third parties candidates may make it impossible for the socialists to pass the first turn.
- Le Front National is morally a far-right party but economically it is more leftist than the Valls-Hollande wing of the socialist party. Heirs of a much more extremist FN of Jean Marie Le Pen, the party now under control of his daughter Marine Le Pen is still struggling to get their image rebranded. They have grown a lot in the past years, Jean-Marie reached the 2nd turn in 2002 (only to lose 80-20), but his daughter will probably get better scores. The party has pretty much three wings, a moderate extremist one of Florian Philipot, a very influencial vp of the party, whom interesting fact for a far-right is gay; a far-far-right wing of ex-JM core supporters which is now weakened but is still strong, and a far-right wing with Marion Maréchal Le Pen (niece of Marine and grand daughter of JM lol). The hole thing is controlled by Marine Le Pen, divided internally, they all get united under the banner of Les Republicans and Socialists wrecked the country idea, France is doomed if you don't elect us and Russia is cool banner. They lost a lot of core electors to Fillon, but if the party play his cards right (or far-right lololol), they could make it up with communist and socialist voters scared of Fillon's ultra liberalism.
Then we have three relevant third (or fourth?) party candidates:
- France Insoumise: Melanchon, communist. Economically very to the left but and morally leftist but with some talk close to the FN (regarding the EU, Russia,...). Some call him a dinosaure, he's always been there and maybe always will. He got a lot of socialist voters that are opposed to Hollande's policies and is actually granted third place in polls after Fillon and Le Pen. His extremist views and a unified post-primary socialist party could hit him in the long run.
- En Marche! Emmanuel Macron center? Ex-minister of economy, Emmanuel Macron is currently fourth, but has been getting support lately. He has some very interesting positions with a leftist or rightwing policies in some issues (ex: Pro-Marijuana, pro-reform in the welfare state but not against it like Fillon, anti-bureaucracy,...). He wants to build a major Centre-Left/Centre-Right coalition to get in the 2nd turn where he believes he can with with enough socialist report of votes against a Le Pen or Fillon opponent. However he is also responsible for the liberal-econ laws that created a malaise in the socialist party and some call him an opportunist for leaving the ship when it was sinking.
- Europe-Écologie-Les-Verts. Green Party progressive econ/morally, they really don't have a big shot at anything but draining voters from other candidates with possibly a 5% vote if they go well probably less. I don't really know their candidate, but he is an outsider of the party that beated the "traditional" green establishment, even if that doesn't mean much lol. The party was allied to the socialists, but they left the gvt when the first liberal-econ laws got passed.
Regarding those third parties, socialist responsibles have constantly called them to run in the socialist primaries so the left can present a unified candidacy against the Right and the Far-right. They argue that an imploded left will get pulverized in the elections (and they're probably right).
There's other candidates, but their average polling didn't qualify them for a WL Off-topics political post.
Edited 12/3/2016 00:39:49