The incumbent French President – Emmanuel Macron – is in the race for another stint in office and according to Smarkets data, he is shaping up as the most likely winner in the election. Part of this is the leader’s track record with managing the COVID-19 crisis which prompted widespread unrest across France but ended up with most of the strict measures now being eased up to coincide with the elections which will begin on April 10.
Smarkets Sees Macron as the Most Likely Winner
Macron’s chances of success are now put at close to 91% as most political opponents rallied behind Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally, a far-right party that promotes disintegration from the European Union and pushes an anti-immigration stance. Le Pen’s reputation has been sullied by her association with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his illegal invasion of Ukraine which has since seen Russia bear some of the worst economic sanctions a modern economy has suffered.
Le Pen’s chances of succeeding at the ballot are now 4%. This does not mean that more candidates would not emerge. There is a total of 10 candidates (with this number possibly going up to 12) that the French people may vote for, but none seems too likely to succeed. Eric Zemmour seems to be third best after Le Pen and Macron with 3.33%. The COVID-19 has focused public attention on Macron whose approval rating hit 37% in January.
However, the subsequent invasion of Ukraine by Russia and partly Belarus gave Macron another reputational boost as the leader has been actively reaching out to Putin in a bid to help broker a peace treaty. Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Smarkets, explained the current situation with the ballot:
“There may be 12 candidates on the ballot paper, but the French presidential election is looking more and more like a one-horse race, with the betting markets putting Emmanuel Macron way out in front. Anything other than an easy re-election for the President would count as a shock result right now.”
Smarkets head of political betting Matthew Shaddick
Le Pen may not be a strong candidate, but Smarkets does not put it past her to manage to organize a run-off on April 24.
Le Pen Likely Heading for the Run-Off
It’s likely that Le Pen and Macron will face off then, although Macron has already defeated her once before back in 2017 when he was elected to serve in office for the first time. Despite Le Pen’s minuscule chances of success as France’s president-elect, she has around 70% of making this second round, Smarkets cautions.
Le Pen’s campaign has been predicated on anti-European rhetoric which was seized by other demagogues in Europe, including Victor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini of Italy. The recent war in Ukraine though has rallied pro-European sentiment and has demonstrated clearly that the continent’s future rests on the shoulders of experienced politicians and not populists.
Whether this holds true will be put to a test by the French people as early as April 10 when the first round of the French presidential elections begins.