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French presidential hopeful fails key election test: The price of a chocolate croissant

Pile of freshly baked croissants filled with chocolate
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The French presidential election doesn't fail to surprise.

Jean-Francois Cope, who is currently running to become the presidential candidate of the right-wing Les Republicains, shocked French voters on Monday when he failed a key election test: The price of pain au chocolat – a traditional French pastry.

"I have no idea but … I think it must be around 10 or 15 centimes," Cope told the French radio Europe 1. The traditional French pastry is sold slightly above one euro (nearly $1.09).

Cope, who was responsible for overseeing the French budget between 2004 and 2007, has suddenly seen his gaffe mocked all across social media.

In an attempt to recover his credibility as a potential president, he responded on Twitter: "I admit I am very conscious of my figure. So to be honest, I stopped the "chocolatines" a long time ago."

The incident is the latest in what is becoming an increasingly febrile presidential contest.


Hollande in hot water

French President François Hollande
Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
French President François Hollande

Last week, President Francois Hollande made headlines after the publication of a book showing controversial comments from the socialist politician. He told two French journalists that the country had a "problem" with Islam, there were "too many" immigrants, the country's magistrates were"cowards", and also criticized national football players, political opponents and a former girlfriend.

"He can't communicate. He didn't succeed to find a way to talk to the country," Fabrice Lhomme, co-author of the book, told CNBC onTuesday morning.

At the moment, it is unclear whether Hollande will run for re-election. Recent popularity rankings showed that he is the least popular president ever. Meanwhile, there are at least two players within his socialist party that could throw their hats into the ring, including former investment banker and economy minister, Emmanuel Macron.

French economy "clearly behind" its peers

Data released Tuesday morning showed business climate in the second largest euro area economy losing some steam.

The French economy "is clearly behind its peers on the macroeconomic front," Vincent Juvyns, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management told CNBC over the phone on Tuesday.

He added that President Francois Hollande "failed" to bring down the country's unemployment rate to below 10 percent, as he had pledged, even though he tried to take a more liberal approach in the last year.

Despite the growing political uncertainty as the 2017 presidential election unfolds, Juvyns is confident that the French CAC 40 index will continue to offer "good value". He pointed to the infrastructure and luxury goods sectors as two areas likely to attract investment over the coming months.


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