Person voting

In La Garenne city in Paris’ northern suburbs, Julie — a jobless young woman — was looking at presidential candidate posters.

“I’m looking to all these faces hoping they will tell me something to help making my decision. But I find nothing,” she said joking.

To the 26-year-old mother of two children, the presidential campaign is a “total blur.” Initially, she had chosen independent contender Emmanuel Macron. As the election neared, she became more hesitant.

“I thought Macron could bring solutions to jobless youth and improve the country’s economy given his program. But, his inexperience as an elected official makes me wonder if he should rule our country for five years,” she told Xinhua.

Julie is one of millions of French voters who could abstain in this year’s presidential contest scheduled for April 23 and May 7.

A recent Odoxa poll showed three quarters of French voters were certain to vote. However, nearly half of them were yet to make their final choice of which candidate to support following an unpredictable campaign.

Jean Horlamus, a caretaker, is a supporter of veteran right politician Alain Juppe who lost the conservative primary to Francois Fillon in November 2016.

“Juppe embodies experience and unity. Unfortunately, he was beaten by Fillon who has made rightists voters in disarray following the fraud scandal,” he said.

“I cannot trust Fillon and I cannot find myself agreeing with other candidates’ programs. Maybe, I’ll choose at the last minute, maybe I won’t vote,” he added.

Unlike the 2012 presidential election, which had been a clear two-horse race between the conservative incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, the 2017 competition for the Elysee Palace remains difficult to predict.

Outgoing president Hollande decided not to seek a second term. Additionally, fraud scandals have tainted far-rightist Marine Le Pen’s bid and engulfed that of Fillon.

Recent surveys showed a spectacular surge in popularity of far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon. However, he was seen at third place behind the two front-runners Le Pen and Macron.

Opinion polls predicted for months that Le Pen would win the first round with Macron taking second place, sending the duo to a May 7 run-off where he would comfortably beat her.

Bernard, a 47-year-old worker at a private chemical products company, is a traditional Socialist voter. He said: “Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon has not enough credentials to win. So, I think that Macron is the best and deserves my vote to echo Socialists’ interests,” he said.

Ten days ahead election’s first round, 45.7 million voters were registered to cast their ballots on April 23. Pollsters expect a record high abstention rate at 35 percent

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Thomas Guenole, political scientist and professor at Sciences Po University, said: “The election is quite unpredictable because voters have become too unstable in their voting behavior. They decide much later. They hesitate much longer, and they have much less reluctance to vote for an unusual party.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/