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‘When I am president’: The key policies of final 12 French candidates

We look at the 12 names on the voting slips this April, and what each candidate stands for

France’s presidential election takes place on April 10 (first round) and April 24 (if a second round is required) Pic: Regormark / Shutterstock

Friday (March 4) at 18:00 was the deadline for presidential hopefuls to have collected 500 signatures of elected officials in order to become official candidates for the election in April. 

Read more about this system of parrainages in our article here

By earlier that day, 11 people had managed to pass the 500 threshold. One, Philippe Poutou (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste), was closing in, with 439 signatures as of the most recent count from Thursday (March 3). He said he was confident of getting the 61 names before the deadline, and he was right.

Below, we look at the 12 people whose names will be on the voting slip when those in France go to the ballots on April 10. 

We outline a few of their key policies, and provide a link to their social media accounts so that you can see more of what they say. 

We listed the candidates in the order of who has the most signatures (parrainages). 

Valérie Pécresse - Les Républicains (right wing)

Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO

  • Proposes a host of measures to increase purchasing power, including (but not limited to), increasing in net salaries, tax exemption for overtime without a limit, accumulation of employment and retirement benefits without limit
  • Invest €100billion in defence spending by 2030
  • Base Europe’s defence on two pillars, Nato and a European defence system
  • Net zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • Improve access to medical professionals and facilities in rural areas

Emmanuel Macron - La République En Marche (Centrist)

Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

Emmanuel Macron has spent less time than other candidates to outline clear policies, but we have drawn a list of his main priorities from a letter he wrote to announce his candidacy.

Read more: Continuity key theme as Macron finally declares candidacy in letter

  • Work harder to lower taxes that impact work and production
  • Continue to invest in innovation and research, including renewable energy, nuclear, batteries, agriculture and digitisation
  • Preserve and even improve the social model in France
  • Give more respect and more money to schools and teachers
  • Invest in elderly care to allow people to remain at home for longer, and also to make retirement homes more humane
  • Continue work to make France more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities
  • Continue efforts to improve access to medical professionals and facilities in rural areas
  • Defend the French identity, meaning to promote ‘a certain way of being in the world’
  • Continue investments in security and justice

Anne Hidalgo - Parti socialiste (centre left)

Pic: Obatala-photography / Shutterstock

  • She says her five-year term will be the one that allows us to contain the rise in global temperatures
  • Combat lack of access to health care in rural areas: 4,000 interns will be deployed in places lacking medical staff
  • Increase access to mental health support, particularly for young people
  • Garantie France’s ‘food independence’
  • Give 16 year olds the right to vote, and allow foreigners to vote in local elections
  • Reach 100% renewable energy, without relying on nuclear power
  • Extend paternity leave to sixteen weeks, including six mandatory weeks
  • Increase salaries and increase the minimum wage by €200 net per month, i.e. to €1,450

Jean-Luc Mélenchon - La France Insoumise (left wing)

Pic: GERARD BOTTINO / Shutterstock

  • Provide €1billion to fight against violence against women
  • Create an allowance of €1,063 for all young students and all young people who are in secondary vocational education
  • Reduce VAT on essential items from 5.5% to 5%
  • Lower the voting age to 16 and make voting compulsory at age 18

Read more: French election: Leftist Mélenchon reaches 500 backers with week left

Éric Zemmour - Reconquête (far right)

Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

  • He has said that while Marine Le Pen, another far-right candidate, has said that zero immigration is only a slogan, for him it is a commitment 
  • Increase net salaries without increasing the gross salary
  • Impose strict control on imams
  • lower the age of criminal majority from 18 to 16 "to make minors and their parents more responsible”. He has also talked about lowering this age to 13
  • Let Poland deal with Ukrainians refugees alone

Yannick Jadot - Europe Écologie Les Verts (Green)

Pic: Martinbertrand.fr / Shutterstock

  • “The fight for the climate is a battle for international security”
  • Establish of a non-proliferation treaty for fossil fuels
  • Invest €13billion in food sovereignty and taking over the debt of farmers who go organic
  • Increase low wages and the net minimum wage to €1,400 euros (currently around €1, 269 per month)
  • Build 700,000 social housing units
  • Ban for-profit retirement homes

Jean Lassalle - Résistons ! (anti-establishment)

“The electoral campaign is cataclysmically poor. The French no longer trust anything or anyone. Let's overhaul our institutions and encourage citizen involvement.”

  • Referendum on increasing presidential term times to seven years or keeping it at five
  • Increase the net minimum wage to €1,400 per month (currently around €1,269)
  • Create 20,000 new hospital beds and recruit 100,000 medical staff
  • Create a reserve army service
  • Develop the principle of rent-to-own to facilitate access to home ownership

Fabien Roussel - Parti communiste de France (far-left, communist)

“Create the France of happy days”

  • Increase the minimum wage, net salaries and pensions immediately
  • Re-create a ministry of women’s rights and a law that imposes a legal framework to combat sexual violence
  • Reach gender wage parity within six months in the public sector and one year in the private sector
  • Create 300,000 new jobs in retirement homes
  • Re-nationalise the SNCF, EDF, Engie, La Poste and Orange
  • France should convene a European conference on debt and "refuse to make the people pay" the debts linked to Covid

Marine Le Pen - Rassemblement National (far right)

Pic: magicinfoto / Shutterstock

  • Says her “obsession” is to find the means to ensure that the 5.6 million unemployed people find a job that pays well
  • Create a pension scheme that allows those who started working before the age of 20 to leave with 40 years of service at the age of 60 (current retirement age in France is 62)
  • To solve the crisis in Ukraine, France must take the lead in diplomacy by organising an international conference under the supervision of the UN
  • Lower the VAT on fuel, electricity, gas and oil
  • Says she is hostile to the wearing of the veil everywhere and that she considers it as an Islamist uniform, that it is an act of submission of women. She wants to eradicate the Islamist ideology in France

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan - Debout la France (right wing)

Pic: Victor Joly / Shutterstock

  • Get rid of the Covid vaccine and health pass systems for good
  • Increase salaries by 8%
  • France should act as un-aligned in the war on Ukraine, and Ukraine should become a neutral state (as per the wishes of Russian President Vladimir Putin) 
  • Do not increase minimum wage but reduce social costs
  • Refuse to legalise cannabis
  • Restrict the right to asylum and deport rejected asylum seekers

Nathalie Arthaud - Lutte Ouvrière (far left, communist)

Pic: GERARD BOTTINO / Shutterstock

  • She says she is absolutely against economic sanctions against Russia, because "it will be the population that will pay for them". She also opposes the sending of arms to Ukraine.
  • She believes that the responsibilities of the Ukraine war are shared between Russia and Western powers, and Nato. She considers that Nato has surrounded Russia and is a main provocation in Russia’s decision to invade the country
  • Reduce weekly working hours
  • Increase all salaries by at least €300
  • Increase the net monthly minimum wage to €2,000 (currently around €1,269 per month)
  • Overcome capitalism through revolution

Read more: Trotskyist candidate passes 500 signatures threshold

Philippe Poutou - Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (far left, anti-capitalist) 

“Our lives are worth more than their profits”

  • Stop the expansion of Nato and cancel Ukraine’s debt
  • Establish the right to vote for foreigners
  • Reduce working hours to 32 hours over four days
  • Increase all incomes by €400 
  • Establish a minimum universal monthly income of €1,800 net

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