Tough Choice in French Election

Marine Le Pen - Candidate for the French Presidency
Marine Le Pen - Candidate for the French Presidency (source)

Some French voters have a difficult choice in the upcoming presidential election. They have to choose between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round of voting. Their options are the incumbent, President Emmanuel Macron, and Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen is a right-wing candidate. She has been a prominent figure in French politics for some time, and before her, her father was a party leader and frequent presidential candidate. She wants to limit immigration, toughen policing, and reduce the official retirement age to sixty.

Macron, who wants to raise the retirement age to sixty-five, is generally seen as a centrist candidate, but in the eyes of many left-wing voters, he is too far to the right. French students protested this week, claiming that Macron is too pro-business, and that neither candidate will do what is good for the environment or French workers.

French Muslims are also worried about their options. Marine Le Pen wants to outlaw the way that animals are slaughtered in religions like Islam and Judaism, as well as the wearing of Islamic headscarves in public. Observant Muslims see these as the first steps in making it clear that they are not welcome in France. However, Macron has also made some Muslims feel victimized by closing certain Mosques and Islamic groups in an effort to prevent radicalism.

French voters will either abstain from voting or make their difficult choice on April 24th.


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Worksheet with activities


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Useful Language

  • Candidate (n) - a person that is trying to get elected
  • Prominent figure (n) - a well-known person
  • Centrist (adj, n) - a person with political opinions that are not extreme
  • Outlaw (v) - to make something illegal
  • Observant (adj) - following religious rules carefully
  • Slaughter (v) - to kill animals for the meat
  • Victimized (adj) - to be treated unfairly perhaps because of one’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion
  • Mosque (n) - a religious building for Muslims
  • Radicalism (n) - belief in extreme ideas or forms of religion
  • Abstain (v) - to not do something


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. Have you been to France? What was it like? If not, are you interested in visiting? What would you like to see?
  2. How do you choose when you don’t like any of your options?
  3. Is there an official retirement age in your country? What is it? Is it too low or too high?
  4. Does your religion, if you have one, have rules about how or when to eat?
  5. Do more people immigrate to your country or emigrate from your country? Why?
  6. Have you voted in an election? Were you happy about your options?
  7. Are politicians doing enough to protect the environment?
  8. Do you think your country’s government is more pro-business or more pro-worker?
  9. Are people of various religions welcome in your country?
  10. Are your opinions generally more left-wing, right wing, or centrist?