Who will win the 2022 French election?

As France prepared to go to the polls this Sunday, “finding a French election poster for either top candidate” that hadn’t been defaced was “almost like a treasure hunt”, said BBC Europe editor Katyla Adler.

The “violent dislike” that many voters express for either Macron or Le Pen, or for both, “can take your breath away”, Adler wrote. But the far-right challenger for the French presidency is at least “used to it”, as the daughter of  “infamous anti-immigration, nationalist politician” Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Following her two previous failed bids for the presidency, the National Rally leader has presented “the softest public version of herself yet” this time round, adopting a “notably warmer speaking tone”, Adler continued. But while Le Pen’s “focus on the working French struggling to make ends meet” has also boosted her popularity ratings, “large swathes of France simply don’t buy it”.

And Le Pen “is not the only one with a reputation problem”, with Macron struggling to shake off his reputation as a “president of the rich”.

The “biggest challenge” for both Le Pen and Macron, said The Guardian, was to “catch reluctant floating voters”, particularly the 7.7m who backed left-wing candidate Mélenchon in the first round of the election.

Almost a quarter of the eligible population failed to turn out for the first vote, “and many of those politically orphaned by the result are unlikely to have their arms twisted into voting for either of two candidates they dislike”, the paper predicted.

Voter apathy aside, a victory for Macron would be quite a “feat” by the incumbent, who “remains the strong favourite to win”, according to The Economist.

“Under the Fifth Republic, the French have never re-elected an incumbent president holding a majority in parliament,” said the paper. But if he secured a second term, as the head of a “fractured, discontented country”, Macron would be faced with “managing the dismay as much as the expectations”.

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