Wednesday, March 22, 2017

AFP: French voters adrift as unconventional election looms - Even truck-crushed kids can't wake up French voters? --tma

The five main French presidential candidates' (left to right) right-winger Francois Fillon, centrist Emmanuel Macron, hard-left Jean-Luc Melenchon, far-right Marine Le Pen and left-wing Socialist Benoit Hamon (AFP Photo/Patrick KOVARIK)

Paris (AFP) - One month before the French cast their first votes for president, mainstream parties are battling for relevance as anti-establishment candidates such as Marine Le Pen come to the fore.

The far-right Le Pen shares pole position in the run-up to the April 23 first round with Emmanuel Macron, who professes to be neither left nor right.

Polls show that Macron, 39, would rout the 48-year-old Le Pen in the decisive run-off on May 7 if the election were held today.

Both have tapped into a deep vein of discontent over politics as usual after successive governments, both left and right, have failed to lift France out of its economic torpor or mend its social divides.

"The French are wondering whether politicians still have any power over the course of events," political consultant Stephane Rozes told AFP. ...