May 23, 2013
A look at the candidates
Following are the salient points of the platforms of the eight candidates beyond frontrunners Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande:
Marine Le Pen, 43, wants to pull France out of the euro, order the Bank of France to fund the government, slash the number of annual legal immigrants to 10,000 from 200,000, cut sales taxes on gasoline by 20 percent and shift the levy on oil companies. She has about 16.5 percent of the support, according to polls.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 60, is backed by the Communist Party. A European parliamentarian, he wants to eliminate value-added tax on books and bar doctors from charging more than the state-fixed rate. He's seeking a new constitution to found the Sixth Republic with more parliamentary powers. He would also impose a 100 percent tax on income above 360,000 euros (US$481,000), pull back the retirement age to 60 from 62, increase the minimum wage by 22 percent and create 850,000 government jobs. His meetings culminate with the singing of the "Internationale." He's at 14 percent in the polls.
François Bayrou, 60, calls for a balanced budget by 2016 by a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, promotes "Made in France" products, advocates reserving a share of government contracts for small companies, and wants to "study" a separation of commercial and investment banks. Bayrou has about 9.5 percent support in the polls.
Eva Joly, 68, is a former anti-corruption prosecutor. In July, when she won the Green Party's primary, she was credited with 7 percent of the vote before seeing her tally dwindle to 2.5 percent in recent polls, undercut by squabbling within her party and her stiff speaking style. The party's platform calls for phasing out nuclear power, transforming France into a more parliamentary system, allowing gay marriage, and ending bank secrecy and tax havens.
Nicolas Dupont-Aignon's "Debout La République," or roughly "Stand up for the Republic," calls for pulling France out of most European Union treaties, including the euro, and withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's military command. The 50-year-old mayor of Yerres, a town of 30,000 in the southeast Paris suburbs, broke with Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement over the 2005 referendum on the EU constitution. He's credited with about 1 percent in polls.
Nathalie Arthaud, 42, from "Lutte Ouvrière," or "Workers' Struggle," is the only candidate claiming to be a communist. The teacher doesn't have a programme, saying the change she wants can only come from a popular uprising. In interviews, she has said she wants to nationalize banks and big industry, outlaw firings, and index all salaries and pensions to inflation. She's at 0.5 percent in polls.
Philippe Poutou, 45, is a union representative at a Ford plant near Bordeaux that makes transmissions, and his activism thwarted a 2009 plan to sell the factory. Poutou's "New Anti-Capitalist Party," would nationalize large companies, close the stock market, repudiate the national debt, raise all salaries, and outlaw non-essential work on Sunday. He's credited with 0.5 percent in the polls.
Jacque Cheminade's support is so low it doesn't always show up in the polls. The 70-year-old wants to withdraw from the euro, break up banks, limit financial markets to daily fixings, and create mutually owned lending organizations to fund fusion energy and large scale infrastructure projects, including in space.