By Zhihui Zou 3:19 pm PST

While the world battling between Ukraine – Russian crisis, French are entering presidential election season. The 44-year-old Emmanuel Macron received 2,098 signatures. He has the second most number of signatures among the twelve candidates. Valérie Pécresse, with 2,636 signatures, has the most number of signatures. For the full chart of signature count, please read more here.

Macron has announced his expected plans for his second term. During a news conference on March 17, Macron said “we [the French people] are at a tipping point where we can make a real difference.” Macron not only refers to the conflicts in Ukraine, but also other issues such as climate change and economic relations.

“Many of the things that we have to do today, in a time of crisis, and that we will have to do in the coming months and years will structure the life of our country in the long run,” Macron continued.

Macron also said that making France more economically, resource, and politically independent is another of his objectives. He has shared plans in increasing France’s agriculture and industry, as well as strengthening the army and building more nuclear reactors to decrease carbon emission.

The current president has strong statistics to secure his votes. During his presidency, France saw an economic boom, making France one of the strongest economies in Europe. In addition, France’s employment rate reached the highest in nearly two decades.

“I had promised to lower unemployment—despite the crises, we did it,” Macron said in his news conference. “The rate of unemployment is at its lowest level for 15 years, the youth unemployment rate is at its lowest level for 40 years, and the participation rate is at its highest level since we’ve been measuring it.”

Macron did not feel his former accomplishment was sufficient.

“None of these results can be considered enough,” Macron added during the news conference. “We will continue with reforms to the labour market, continuing to simplify social dialogue, continuing to give visibility to employers and employees. We will continue with reforms to unemployment insurance to adapt it to the economic situation.”

Many news agencies, such as Reuters, all believe that Macron has a good chance to at least win the first round of election. The Economist’s poll-based model predicts all other candidates will have an “uphill battle” against Macron.

Other Candidates

Macron’s last minute decision to join the election drew him criticisms from his political opponents.

“The president wants to be re-elected without ever really having been a candidate, without a campaign, without a debate, without a competition of ideas,” Gerard Larcher, the President of the Senate, criticized, according to France 24.

Despite receiving the most signatures from elected officials, Valérie Pécresse, President of Regional Council of Île-de-France (the most populated administrative region in France), has less than 20 out of 100 chance of winning the first round of election while Macron having a near 100 out of 100 chance, according to the Economist’s model. According to the same model, the candidate right behind Macron is Marine Le Pen, whose chance for winning the first round is just below an 80 out of 100.

During the conflicts in Ukraine, Macron’s pursuit for peace has also given him voters’ support that other candidates did not receive.

Macron does have certain weaknesses in his campaign. As a controversial figure, Macron is still receiving criticisms regarding his labor reforms that benefited businesses. The anti-government Yellow Vest protest in 2018 is a key example.

Right after the 2022 French presidential election is the legislative election in June. Although the French president has certain legislative and parliamentary power, Macron would still appreciate an extra power-boost if his political party, the La Republique en Marche, also succeeded in the legislative election.