"What poses a problem is not Islam, but certain behaviors that are said to be religious and then imposed on persons who practice that religion." — Emmanuel Macron
"Those who come to France are to accept France, not to transform it to the image of their country of origin. If they want to live at home, they should have stayed at home." — Marine Le Pen
"It [France] is one nation that has a right to choose who can join it and a right that foreigners accept its rules and customs. — François Fillon
Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for a massive increase in public spending, a 90% tax on anyone earning more than €400,000 ($425,000) a year, and an across-the-board increase in the minimum wage by 16% to €1,326 ($1,400) net a month, based on a 35-hour work week.
Benoît Hamon has promised to establish a universal basic income: he wants to pay every French citizen over 18, regardless of whether or not they are employed, a government-guaranteed monthly income of €750 ($800). The annual cost to taxpayers would be €400 billion ($430 billion). By comparison, France's 2017 defense budget is €32.7 billion ($40 billion).
Voters in France will go to the polls on April 23 to choose the country's next president in a two-step process. The top two winners in the first round will compete in a run-off on May 7.
The election is being closely followed in France and elsewhere as an indicator of popular discontent with mainstream parties and the European Union, as well as with multiculturalism and continued mass migration from the Muslim world.
If the election were held today, independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has never held elected office, would become the next president of France, according to most opinion polls.
An Ifop-Fiducial poll released on April 21 showed that Macron would win the first round with 24.5% of the votes, followed by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-establishment National Front party, with 22.5%. Conservative François Fillon is third (19.5%), followed by Leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon (18.5%) and radical Socialist Benoît Hamon (7%).