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The 2017 French presidential election is an election that designated the next President of the French Republic to succeed incumbent president François Hollande. The election consists of a direct popular vote in two rounds, the first one will taking place on April 23rd, 2017 and the second one on May 7th, 2017. There are a total of eleven candidates running for the first round. On May 7th, Emmanuel Macron won the election with over 66% of the votes.
2016 Republican Primary Election
The "Open primary of the Right-Wing and Centre" is the primary round for the french conservative right-wing (dominated by the party "Les Républicains", the republicans) to nominate their candidate for the general election. There were seven candidates competing for the nomination : former President Nicolas Sarkozy, former Prime Minister François Fillon, Mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Bruno Le Maire, Jean-Frédéric Poisson and Jean-François Copé. On November 27th, 2016, after a two rounds vote, François Fillon was proclaimed winner of the primary election.
Citizen Primary of 2017
The primary round which decided the presidential candidate of the governing Socialist Party and the liberal Left-wing included seven candidates: Incumbent Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Benoît Hamon, Arnaud Montebourg, François de Rugy, Vincent Peillon, Sylvia Pinel and Jean-Luc Bennahmias. On January 29th, 2017, Benoît Hamon was proclaimed winner of the primary election.
On March 18th, 2017, the Constitutional Council published the list of the 11 candidates who recieved the 500 endorsement sponsorships required to officially run for the general election :
- François Fillon (party : Les Républicains / The Republicans)
- Marine Le Pen (party : Front National / National Front)
- Emmanuel Macron (movement : En Marche! / Onward!)
- Benoît Hamon (party : Parti Socialiste / Socialist Party)
- Jean-Luc Mélenchon (movement : La France Insoumise / Rebellious France)
- Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (movement : Debout la France / Arise France)
- François Asselineau (movement : Union Populaire Républicaine / Popular Republican Union)
- Jacques Cheminade (party : Solidarité et Progrès / Solidarity and Progress)
- Nathalie Arthaud (party : Lutte Ouvrière / Workers' Struggle)
- Philippe Poutou (party : Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste / New Anticapitalist Party)
- Jean Lassalle (movement : Resistons! / Let's Resist!)
The Penelope Fillon case, also known as "Penelopegate," is a corruption scandal surrounding the Republican candidate François Fillon. According to this case, Mr Fillon is suspected of embezzlement of over 800 000 € of public money, by illegaly hiring his wife Penelope Fillon for a fake job of parliamentary assistant between 1998 and 2007. After the scandal was revealed in the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné on january 25th, 2017, it triggered an enormous backlash from the public opinion against Mr Fillon. However, Mr Fillon announced that he would keep running for the election, refusing to answer any formal Police inquiry.
The presidential debates ("Le grand débat" in French) were a series of two televised debates opposing the presidential election candidates. The first one took place on channels TF1 and France 2 on March 20th, 2017 and only opposed the five main candidates, i.e. Fillon, Macron, Mélenchon, Hamon and Le Pen, while the second one, which was broadcasted on channels CNews and BFMTV on April 4th, 2017, gathered all of the eleven candidates. Those kind of debates, which were totally unprecedented for any french presidential election, were widely discussed on social media and showed a peak of sympathy from the public opinion for several "independant" candidates, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Jean Lassalle or Philippe Poutou.
Sylvain Durif's Campaign Announcement
On December 6th, 2016, french 2012 doomsday conspiracy theorist and Internet celebrity Sylvain Durif announced on his (now deleted) Youtube channel his intention to run for the 2017 Presidential. The announcement spawned hilarity on the french internet as well as in mainstream media. The following days, several photoshops were made, displaying Mr Durif in place of the official portrait of President Hollande. Some Geek-culture-themed news sites like Hitek.fr even joked by speculating if his future cabinet would include french internet celebrities, such as Antoine Daniel, le Joueur du Grenier, Rémi Gaillard or Le Logeur du Daesh.
Sarkozy's "Double Ration of Fries" Gaffe
On November 7th, 2016, Republican primary candidate and former President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed during a public meeting to offer a "double ration of french fries" in school restaurants for muslim kids who can't eat pork meat. The announcement, that many observers deemed as totally absurd and inappropriate, especially from someone who led very controversial anti-muslim policies during his presidential term, became ridiculed on french social media.
Ali Juppé / Farid Fillon
Ali Juppé and Farid Fillon are nicknamed given to Republican Primary candidates Alain Juppé and François Fillon by far right wing nationalist supporters online. During the republican primary campaign of november 2016, those nicknames were associated with a series of photoshops displaying Mr Juppé and Fillon as stereotypical muslim fundamentalists.
Obama 2017 is a humorous fake campaign, launched late February 2017, intending to make former US president Barack Obama compete for the french presidential election. The petition lauched on the campaign's site gathered over 49 000 signatures. The initiative has met hilarity from the french as well as american news media.
Pepe Le Pen
Pepe Le Pen is an interpretation of Smug Pepe representing french nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen. After the election of Donald Trump in the US, the Pepe Le Pen edits grew in popularity on far-right wing discussion threads online, with several associations with the meme wars. These associations were widely commented by news media online.
Mélenchon's Hologram Meetings
On February 5th, 2017, Presidential Left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon held a meeting simultaneously live on stage in the city of Lyon and broadcast via hologram projection in Paris, invoking the “spirit of science and sharing” behind this technology. This use of this uncommon medium, that many percieved as over the top, spawned hilarity on social media, especially among his supporters, who generated several Star Wars themed photoshop edits under the hashtag #Hologramme. However, after the success of the first meeting, Mélenchon announced that he would hold another holographic meeting on april 18th, this time live on Stage in Dijon and via hologram in six cities : Nancy, Nantes, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Grenoble and Le Port (Reunion Island)
Can't Stenchon the Mélenchon
"Can’t stenchon the mélenchon" is a catchphrase derived from Can’t stump the trump used by Jean-Luc Mélenchon's supporters online. It is frequently associated with photoshopped communist propaganda parodies or video montage parodies showing Mr Mélenchon roasting his opponents during televised debates. After it timidly started on jeuxvideo.com forums on november 2016, the catchprhase, along with the sentence "Yes we Canchon" (parodying Obama's "Yes we Can" ) knew a peak of popularity in early 2017 after it became aknowledged and embraced by Mélenchon himself.
Marine Le Pen Holding a Paper
Marine Le Pen holding a paper is a photoshop meme based on a photo of Nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen holding a piece of paper during the first presidential debate. During the live broadcast of the debate on march 20th, 2017, she showed to the audience a piece of paper with a graph on it, intending to prove the negative impact of the euro on the french industrial production. However, several twitter users parodied the picture by photoshopping various humorous captions on the paper.
Mélenchon reaction is a reaction image taken from an interview on radio channel Europe 1 displaying presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in an expression of complete shock and disbelief. Following the interview’s broadcast on March 15th, 2017, the animated GIF version of the reaction became viral on Twitter, and led users to associate it with various humorous captions under the hashtag #melenchonreaction.
Philippe Poutou Looking Back
Poutou looking back is a picture of independant communist candidate Philippe Poutou taken from the live footage of the second Presidential debate (that took place on April 4th), on which he appears to turn away from the camera to speak with his campaign staff behind him. The picture became associated with several humorous captions on Twitter, where users were encouraged to imagine the dialogue between Mr Poutou and his staff.
"Rends l'Argent!" ("Give the money back!") is a catchprase mostly used by François Fillon's left-wing opposition online, in reaction to the suspicions on embezzlement of public money he's involved in, surrounding the "Penelopegate" case. Online, the catchprase often became associated with various photoshops and video remixes, showing Mr Fillon in uncomfortable situations after being confronted to someone asking him to "give the money back." The slogan's popularity outbreak became quickly noticed by mainstream news media, while the sentence itself gained a peak in popularity after the second televised debate, when it was quoted by left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon during the first minutes.
Macron Screeching / "C'EST NOTRE PROJET"
Macron screeching, also known as "C'EST NOTRE PROJET" ("this is our project", always written in capital letters) is a series of twitter jokes based on a public speech held by neoliberal centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron on december 10th, 2016. At the end of the meeting, pobably carried away by enthusiasm, Mr Macron started screaming his last sentences, before concluding his speech by saying "Because this is our project" in a loud, screechy voice (video shown below)
During the weeks following the speech, several twitter users started posting photoshopped images of Macron in various situations, often associated with punny captions derived from the "c'est notre projet!" quote.
Most of these were regrouped under the hashtag #CrieCommeMacron ("scream like Macron), while other users started posting video remixes of the scene.
In early May 2017, posts spreading rumors that Macron was using a Cayman Islands bank account for tax evasion purposes began appearing on /pol/. That day, BuzzFeed deputy news director Ryan Broderick posted a series of tweets about the posts on 4chan.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @JackPosobiec tweeted that the "French government just blocked all of 4chan (shown below, left). That evening, 4chan moderator Jay Irwin replied to the tweet, pointing out that it was an IP range block message from 4chan's side, not the French government (shown below, right).
On May 6th, nine gigabytes worth of documents purportedly linked to Macron were leaked on Pastebin by user EMLEAKS. Following the leak, many speculated that Macron had been targeted by a Russian hacking campaign. On May 7th, NPR tweeted that "Wikileaks posted 9 gigabytes if Macron's data." In response, the official Wikileaks tweeted feed stated that "NPR is not a credible news organization," noting that Wikileaks had not leaked the documents. After NPR posted a "clarification" that the publisher of the documents was unknown, Wikileaks criticized the public radio organization for not posting an apology and formal correction (shown below).
On May 7th, 2017, the second round of voting took place, in which Macron was projected to be the new president of France receiving upwards of 66% of the vote with 99% reporting in. The official results of the election will be released on May 10th.
That day, Redditor angular_js_sucks submitted a post about Macron's projected win to /r/worldnews, where it gathered upwards of 113,800 points (74% upvoted) and 22,000 comments within 24 hours. That afternoon, Macron posted a tweet expressing his gratitutde for the French people who trusted in him (shown below). Shortly after, United States President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to Macron for winning the presidency. That evening, Twitter created a Moments page titled "Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential race," highlighting notable tweets about the election result. The following day, Twitter posted a Moments page containing "five maps that show why Macron beat Le Pen."
 Journal du Buzz – Le Grand Monarque est candidat à l'élection présidentielle
 the Huffington Post – How the far-right wing wants to kick 'Ali Juppé' out of the primary