There are several elections in 2017 within Europe, and most are of an interesting nature.
France has the first round of it's Presidential election in roughly 120 days (23 Apr). All of the parties will send up their candidate. The top two will then go to the next round (7 May). Right now, the indicators show that Le Pen and Fillon are the likely two to emerge. For Valls, the replacement candidate for the Socialist Party, he'll be lucky to carve out a 10-percent vote.
Comparing Le Pen and Fillon? If you were a left-leaning or centralist type voter.....you would be unhappy with either choice. Fillon leans a bit to the right, was a Finance Minister under Sarkozy, is hyped up on tough measures for terrorism, and promises to dismiss 500,000 state employees (saying they aren't really doing much for the public). Le Pen would be regarded as far-right, but is carrying a far amount of democratic reform within her National Front party. Le Pen has promised in recent weeks that she'd like to have a change to relationship with the EU....namely putting the French Franc back into action, by having a vote within six months of being elected (figure November of 2017). She also has suggested a FREXIT isn't such a crazy idea but would like to have EU lessen it's control over France.
If you sense this is a pretty wild election....I'd tend to agree. For regular voters, you'd typically have one person from one side of the political spectrum, and one from the other side of the spectrum. In this case, you have to pick which right-wing individual will do the least amount of damage. Do you want someone who will chop off potentially 500,000 government jobs or someone who wants to allow the public to vote on a possible return of the French Franc or possibly a FREXIT vote?
My guess is that most all government workers, and their families....will vote for Le Pen. Most all pro-EU/EURO people will vote for Fillon. Where this goes...is unknown.
But step back a moment and examine the effect of this on pro-EU journalists, the Germans, and the typical negative players of BREXIT. Le Pen should be target number one and a lot of criticism laid out upon her.
A couple of polls have been done on the FREXIT idea and there doesn't appear to be any number approaching fifty-percent of the public. A poll from fall of 2016 showed around 33-percent of the public who'd like the FREXIT idea.....not enough to really be excited about. One odd piece of this FREXIT discussion is that George Soros, the financial 'player', has publicly stated that he thinks France and the Netherlands are likely to be the next two to exit the EU.
Hostility for the Germans? More or less so. Typically, French elections don't affect German politics. In this case, if Le Pen were to win....it'd really put some heavy criticism into early-summer campaign period and force a lot of talk within German political circles about the direction of politics. The heavy dumping on the UK was supposed to ensure that no one else in the EU got funny ideas on leaving. If France got Le Pen, and went to a public vote....with another 51-odd-percent win for FREXIT, like BREXIT....then what?
Can the EU survive without the UK and France? It would be a heavy matter to contemplate. France and the UK could have their own trade zone and this would change the dynamics to how the EU was supposed to screw-over the UK as they left the EU. Screwing over France as well? It just won't happen.
The cherry on this cake? It's only the presidential election that occurs in May. The French legislative election occurs roughly a month later (11/18 June). If you were looking for polling info on this....there's almost none. I think poll organizations might be waiting till the smoke clears in early May before getting really serious on this. The odds of the Socialist Party holding its stronger point in the legislature? My guess is that they will lose at least one-third of the seats that they currently hold (273 seats). This new legislature will be more of a right-wing group.
Settle back, 2017 promises a rough ride for the general public.