Q&A: A French Journalist on Sunday's Pivotal But Unpredictable Presidential Election in France

France votes on Sunday for a new president. For months, it looked like a sure show-down between a moderate, a conservative and a far-right extremist, with the latter candidate -- Marine Le Pen, daughter of the founder of the National Front party, -- widely expected to finish with the most or second-most votes. [In France, if no candidate wins more than half the votes in the first election, there is a run off between the top two finishers. The run-off is scheduled for May 7.]But the contours of the French election have kept shifting, and with just two days before the big vote, it's anyone's guess as to how it will play out. Le Pen had been slipping in the polls, but is now seen as potentially gaining strength by her increasingly harsh stance against immigration, especially in the wake of Thursday's standoff between police and a terrorist Thursday, on one of the world's most iconic boulevards, Champs Elysees. Meanwhile, for several weeks, liberal candidate Jean Luc Mélenchon, has been surging so fast that some observers were predicting he had a reasonable chance to oust Le Pen from the top two spots. This last-minute jockeying might still upset the race. But no matter who wins, the 2017 political season is going to be a memorable one in France, just as lat year's votes in Great Britain and America were for those two countries. To help explain the bigger picture, I reached out to a colleague in Paris earlier this month. Marie-Catherine Beuth is founding editor of Business Insider France and a former U.S. correspondent for the conservative Paris daily, Le Figaro, She is a former John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, where I met her, and has been closely examining her own country's politics — and the way its news media cover politics — since Trump's victory in America. Here is our interview from April 9.   Continue reading...

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