French Presidential elections: where have the politicians been?

This Sunday will see the first round of the French presidential elections and the campaign has been all the rage for several weeks, if not months now. The candidates have been appearing on TV and radio, multiplying their public appearances and other interviews with the press.  

The ongoing electoral campaign has also been marked by peaks of online interactions, especially on social media, of candidates and their supporters. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine running a political campaign in 2022 without creating and amplifying a presence on platforms such as Twitter, TikTok or Twitch. It’s quite clear that this time around, a lot of debates have been occurring via 280-character-long societal analysis and critics of the other candidates.  

This results in an upward trend of the government and political influencers’ impact and visibility that the latest edition of our Tyto Power List also confirmed: in 2021, the number of government and political influencers increased by 57.1% compared with the previous year, the second highest increase behind academics (74.4%).  

In fact, Government occupies the fourth position in our ranking by type of influencers, with business leaders, journalists and academics making the top 3. Yet, Government is in third place in the pan-European Tech 500 Power List, the list with the 500 most influential people across the United Kingdom, Germany and France. 7.8% of the influencers on that list belong to this category and the higher we move up in the ranking, the higher the percentage of influencers from the Government category. This shows the great influence they have, whether we look at their influence within each individual country analysed on this report or across the three regions combined. 

However, looking at the France ranking, it’s worth noting that members of the Government category only occupy 3 positions within the top 100 – compared to 14 in Germany and 17 in the United Kingdom. Therefore, one can wonder: why are politicians so few in the France ranking in terms of influence and public presence while we are in the midst of one of the most important times for the country – that only occurs every 5 years, nonetheless?   

The different conditions required to enter the race for the Elysée as well as the strict agenda could be part of the answer: several candidates officialised their presidential ambitions relatively late – having between late January and early March to secure 500 Présentation signatures from elected officials and thus gain the right to appear on the first-round ballot. Concretely, this means that their only “required” campaign started in 2022, whilst our ranking analyses 2021. Even so more and more formal and official speeches did happen in 2021, most of them only occurred on the second half of the year, if not on the last quarter – which could explain their low ranking if we compare to other categories who have most likely been active all year long. 

When it comes to these elections and their influence (or lack thereof), another point worth mentioning is the fact that it all boils down to one thing: the candidates themselves and their electoral campaign strategies. Up until fairly recently, the conversation in France tended to be less about the candidates or their programs and more about the lack of unity among different political parties – and the length of time it took to only appoint their respective candidate, let alone provide sufficient support to the chosen one. 

When talking about politics in France, an issue that keeps coming back is how fragmented the current political ecosystem is. And this is having a direct impact on peoples’ interest in these candidates: it took a while just to agree on who to support even among citizens with the same political affinities, so it’s no surprise that politicians got the short end of the visibility stick. 

If we were to be a bit less pragmatic and a bit more hypothetical: some people have also suspected that French citizens simply grew tired of political speeches and content around them, especially after the last couple of years. 

All around the world (and France is no exception), the last two years has seen politicians and governments put even more under the spotlight to showcase their solutions and alternatives to the disruptions we have been facing in all parts of our lives – the pandemic since 2020 (and the subsequent quarantines, curfews, etc.) and the initiatives of the Health Minister (in terms of vaccines, covid passes and other sanitary regulations) have of course been at the forefront in every media channel. Could this explain why the people have started to reduce their inclination to provide echo chambers to politicians?  

The next edition of our Tyto Tech 500 Power List will most certainly reveal some interesting trends about influencers from the Government category: will there be more of them in the ranking? Will they gain higher ranks due to an increased visibility and media presence?  

In the meantime, you can find our latest Tyto Tech 500 Power List here. 


Photo by Hansjörg Keller on Unsplash