French Election: What you need to know ahead of the election

World Today

French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, left, and French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement, Emmanuel Macron, pose prior to the start of a live broadcast face-to-face televised debate in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 as part of the second round election campaign. Pro-European progressive Emmanuel Macron and far-right Marine Le Pen are facing off in their only direct debate before Sunday’s presidential runoff election. (Eric Feferberg/Pool Photo via AP)

No matter who wins the French presidential election, the result is destined to shake up the country’s politics. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen each would make history, too.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

France election explainer

No matter who wins the French presidential election, the result is destined to shake up the country’s politics. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen each would make history, too.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen were the remaining candidates after the first round of voting on April 23.

Le Pen’s 21.3 percent of the vote would have been almost unthinkable just a decade ago. In 2007, Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was a candidate and received a little more than 10 percent of the vote. Five years later, support increased to nearly 18 percent.

In the first round, Marine Le Pen had strong support in areas that have lost industrial jobs.

The Socialist Party of Francois Hollande, who won the presidency five years ago, suffered a stunning collapse in the first round this year. Candidate Benoit Hamon barely won any districts.

The other dominant party in French politics, the conservative Republicans, also failed to reach the final round.

Macron is an independent who served as Hollande’s economy minister until he resigned last August. At 39, he would be France’s youngest president.

Marine Le Pen would be its first woman president. She campaigned to take France out of the European Union, and even called herself “Madame Frexit” in an interview.

Macron called immigration an “opportunity for every country.” Le Pen wanted to tighten rules for becoming a French citizen and restrict immigration to 10,000 people per year.