The presidential campaign in France is now in full swing. All that’s missing is the presidential announcement of Emmanuel Macron, the French minister who resigned today to “regain freedom”.

He seeks to distance himself from French president Francois Hollande whose ratings are in the gutter.

Macron announced a new political party in April “En Marche” (On the Move). The party is neither left nor right.

On Tuesday Mr Macron informed his staff that he would step down from his ministerial role to “regain my freedom” and to focus on building a “transformation plan” for France.

Battling a socialist rebellion in parliament against a package of liberalising laws that included an extension of Sunday trading hours, he became the symbol of a modern left, embracing reforms.

In April this year, Mr Macron created his own political party, En Marche! (On the move), which he said was neither on the right nor on the left — a move widely seen as a springboard for a presidential bid. In July, he held his party’s first rally in Paris, coming within an inch from announcing his candidacy.

France has now switched into full presidential campaign mode. The centre-right will nominate its presidential candidate in open primary elections in November, in a race likely to pit Nicolas Sarkozy, the former leader, against Alain Juppé, a former conservative prime minister.

The primary contest is expected to produce the next French head of state, given the record unpopularity of Mr Hollande and the strength of the far-right National Front (FN) in recent local elections. French political analysts expect Marine Le Pen, the FN leader, to reach the second ballot next year — and then be defeated by whoever she then faces.

Last week, socialist firebrand Arnaud Montebourg announced he would run, saying the president had betrayed the ideals of the left with pro-business laws. Mr Montebourg, Mr Macron’s predecessor at the economy ministry, has not yet said whether he intends to participate in socialist primary elections that could take place early next year.

Shape of the Election

  • National Front: Marine le Pen
  • Socialists: Hollande, Montebourg, Jean-Luc Melenchon
  • En March: Macron
  • Center Right: Sarkozy, Juppé

Macron will take votes away from the socialists and possibly from the center right.

A list of Recent Polls suggests the only person Le Pen could beat in round two is Francois Hollande. But Hollande will not make it to round two.

The most recent Poll by BVA is skewed because it does not include Macron.

French Voter Intentions

French Voter Intentions

French Voter Intentions2

The leaders of each party will square off for round one of the elections.

Right now it appears it will be Juppé, Macron, Le Pen, and some guaranteed-to-lose socialist candidate on the left. Those party leaders will square off in round one.

It’s a near-certainty no party will get 50% so the final two parties will square off in round two.

Le Pen is likely to make it to round two. And if Macron takes votes away from the center right, Le Pen might even win round one, but she would then be a heavy favorite to lose in round two.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock