PARIS (Reuters) – All the main candidates are now on the starting line for France’s April presidential election, after Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Thursday that he was running for a second term.

Macron is the favorite in opinion polls. But the projected margin is narrower than when he was elected in 2017 and he faces fierce competition from the right.

Even if he succeeds, Macron will need his centrist La République en Marche (LaRem) party – which has failed in all recent local elections – and its allies to win the June legislative elections if he is to have a a solid platform to implement its policy. .

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– The race between Valérie Pécresse of the conservatives Les Républicains and Marine Le Pen of the far right and Eric Zemmour to be Macron’s challenger in the probable second round.

– Will Macron stumble and lose his lead? In 2017, the early favorites lost the election to Macron, then a foreigner.

– Voters’ uncertainty. Opinion polls show many are unsure who they will be voting for, and turnout could be lower than usual, adding more uncertainty.

* WHAT WILL THE ELECTION BE FIGHTED ON?

– The election campaign begins in the midst of a war in Ukraine. Polls show this could impact the outcome of the vote, with early polls pointing to a boost for Macron.

– Immigration and security issues have long been at the forefront of political debate, but opinion polls show that purchasing power is one of the main concerns of voters.

– The economic recovery, and if it holds. Opinion polls show voters unhappy with Macron’s economic policies, but unemployment is at its lowest in years and those polled believe none of his opponents would do better.

– Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves across Europe and beyond. The winner of the French elections will have to deal with the fallout.

– Now that Britain has left the European Union, France is the main military power in the bloc. It is also the undisputed second biggest economy in the EU, and the exit of Angela Merkel as German chancellor has given Macron a bigger role in Europe.

– The next president will face skyrocketing public deficits to cope with the impact of the pandemic, a pension system that many say needs reform, and measures to reindustrialise France.

April 10 – First round of the presidential election

April 24 – Second round organized between the two best candidates if neither wins a simple majority of the votes cast in the first round.

May 13 – The last day the new president takes office.

June 12 and 19 – Parliamentary election.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander, Additional reporting by Elizabeth Pineau, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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