| Jacques Chirac
|| Rally for the Republic (RPR)
| Jean-Marie Le Pen
|| Front National
| Lionel Jospin
|| Socialist Party (PS)
| François Bayrou
|| Union for French Democracy (UDF)
| Arlette Laguiller
|| Lutte Ouvrière (Worker's struggle)
| Jean-Pierre Chevènement
|| Mouvement des Citoyens (Citizens' movement)
| Noël Mamère
|| Les Verts (The Greens)
| Olivier Besancenot
|| Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (Communist Revolutionary League)
| Jean Saint-Josse
|| Chasse, Pêche, Nature, Traditions (Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions)
| Alain Madelin
|| Démocratie Libérale (Liberal Democracy)
| Robert Hue
|| French Communist Party (PCF)
| Bruno Mégret
|| Mouvement National Républicain (National Republican Movement)
| Christiane Taubira
|| Parti radical de gauche
| Corinne Lepage
|| Citoyenneté Action Participation
| Christine Boutin
|| close to UDF
| Daniel Gluckstein
|| Parti des travailleurs
This election came as a shock to many commentators, almost all of whom had expected the second ballot to be between Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin. Jospin's poor showing and the widespread splintering of the left-wing vote in the first round of the election meant that instead Jean-Marie Le Pen faced Chirac in the second ballot. The election brought the two-round voting system into question as well as raising many concerns about apathy and the way in which the left had become so divided.
In the months before the election, the campaign had increasingly focused on questions of law and order, with a particular attention towards crime committed by the youth, especially the youth of foreign origin. The Jospin government was criticized for its "softness" on crime.
There was a widespread stirring of national public opinion, and more than one million people in France took part in street rallies, in an expression of fierce opposition to Le Pen's ideas. Some held up protest signs stating "I'm ashamed to be French".
The choice between Chirac, who was at the time under investigation for actions carried out whilst he was mayor of Paris (see corruption scandals in the Paris region) and who was benefiting from Presidential immunity, and Le Pen, a nationalist often accused of racism and antisemitism, was one that many found tough. In the days before the second ballot, a memorable poster was put up of Chirac with the slogan "Vote for a Crook, not a Fascist". Chirac defeated Le Pen by a landslide.
See also: President of France, France, Politics of France
- Official French government links are in French.