Poutou, Arthaud, Lassalle and other minor candidates

Candidates from both the political right and left have little chance of winning but nevertheless have a point to make.

    French citizens go to the polls on April 23 [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters]
    French citizens go to the polls on April 23 [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters]

    A total of 11 candidates are contesting the first round of the French presidential election with five major candidates drawing in the biggest numbers.

    Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen lead the pack, followed by conservative The Republicans candidate Francois Fillon, leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, and the Socialist Party’s Benoit Hamon.

    But who are the remaining six, and do any of them pose a risk of an upset?

    Philippe Poutou

    Philippe Poutou stands on a leftist platform [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters] 

    A trade unionist, leftist, and an employee of a car factory, Poutou leads the New Anticapitalist Party.

    The ardent anti-capitalist has raised eyebrows with his scathing attacks on the corruption "establishment" candidates during the presidential debates and for his casual outfit during the televised event.

    In the 2012 race, he picked up just over 1 percent of the total votes cast and is expected to pick up just a little higher in the 2017 contest.

    His blistering attacks on Le Pen and other rivals for their alleged corruption will send minor ripples in the polls, but have succeeded in giving him a newfound celebrity.

    Nathalie Arthaud

    Nathalie Arthaud is an economics teacher at a secondary school [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters] 

    Arthaud previously stood for the 2012 presidential election, picking up just 0.5 percent of votes cast.

    The secondary school economics teacher is standing on a leftist platform, advocating higher wages, worker-control of industries, and an anti-interventionist foreign policy.

    Like Poutou, she makes no secret of her desire for an eventual communist system.

    Jean Lassalle

    Jean Lassalle wants to increase public spending [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters] 

    An independent member of the National Assembly, Lassalle is known for a hunger strike in protest at a paint manufacturer’s decision to open a factory away from his own constituency, threatening local jobs.

    The protest ended in his being treated in hospital and a promise from the firm, Toyal, that it would not cut any jobs.

    Lassalle is calling for an increase in public spending and mandatory civil or military service for all teenagers.

    Nicolas Dupont-Aignan

    Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wants to pull France out of the eurozone [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters]

    A member of the French National Assembly and Mayor of the Paris suburb of Yerres, Dupont-Aignan finished seventh in the 2012 contest with under 2 percent of the vote.

    Opinion polls show him performing much better in 2017, polling around 4 percent.

    Dupont-Aignan stands on a right-wing Eurosceptic platform and wants to pull France out of the eurozone.

    Francois Asselineau

    Francois Asselineau wants France out of the EU and NATO [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters] 

    A career civil servant, Eurosceptic Asselineau wants France follow the UK’s example in leaving the European Union.

    The candidate stands on the political right, and also proposes French withdrawal from NATO, claiming the organisation seeks to serve US interests against Russia.

    Asselineau has been criticised for his belief in conspiracy theories, including the claim that the EU is a US creation aimed at asserting Washington’s power on the continent.

    Jacques Cheminade

    Jacques Cheminade wants France out of the EU [Lionel Bonaventure/Reuters]

    The former civil servant wants to pull France out of the EU and the eurozone and renegotiate the country’s relationship with the rest of Europe.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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