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France and UK Elections

France's ongoing presidential election and the UK's recently-announced general election are important for the global community.

Matt Fazekas, Staff Writer

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The UK and France, two major western powers, have both recently had election-related events take place. In France, the first round of the presidential election has been completed, with the final part of the election to come on Sunday, May 7th. The UK, meanwhile, has announced a new general election.

The French presidential election is often confusing to non-French viewers, due to the aforementioned split in rounds. The first round of the election took place on April 23rd. The two leading candidates from that election, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, are the candidates being voted upon in round two, with the winner becoming president of France.

Macron is the founder of the party En Marche!, a center-left party with politics similar to the “third way” method, with Macron being compared to Tony Blair by French commentators. Le Pen, meanwhile, comes from the National Front, a far-right party nationalist party. Macron won the first round of voting and is expected to win the second as well, but by a fairly close margin.

The UK’s election takes place only two years after the last general election, a relatively short turnover by UK standards. A general election in the UK can happen if a supermajority (two-thirds) of the House of Commons votes for one. Elections then happen every five years from that point, until the House of Commons votes for an irregular year again, at which point the cycle begins anew.

The general election is thought to be in response to push-back after Brexit, the referendum that called for the UK to leave the European Union. The passage of that referendum has been extremely controversial. Theresa May, the current Prime Minister, is thought to have called for the election to be, in effect, reassurance that they should go through with leaving the EU.

The Conservative Party is expected to lead the election, with Labour falling in behind. UKIP, a right-wing populist party which gained notoriety due to its aggressive anti-immigration stance, is expected to gain seats in the election.
One final, interesting note is that Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, a party whose long-term goal is gaining independence for Scotland, has indicated that should the UK leave the EU, Scotland may hold a referendum to see if its citizens wish to leave the UK. Scotland previously held such a referendum in 2014, which resulted in a 55-45 result in favor of staying. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, has also expressed support for Scotland holding another referendum.

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France and UK Elections