French voters are preparing for the first round of voting on April 10 in their country’s presidential election. Held every five years, it is France’s favourite political moment, and while turnout is always the subject of dire predictions, it remains high, as does the fascination for both process and outcome.
The second and decisive round comes two weeks later, with parliamentary elections following in June. As usual the presidential election is a crowded scene with 38 candidates intending to run. Only half are expected to secure the 500 endorsements from elected officials needed to take part.
The large pool of candidates highlights that, contrary to other advanced economies such as the United States or Britain, French politics isn’t suffering from polarization. Rather, its party landscape has disintegrated into many pieces. In 2017, this fragmentation allowed Emmanuel Macron to squeeze into a second round against Marine Le Pen, whom he roundly defeated.