Sunday, 22 April 2007

La France vote 2007: haute assemblée dans la première étape de l'élection présidentielle

Or: France votes 2007: high turnout in first stage of presidential election

The French election is still unpredictable.

BBC News covers the news well...

French voters have been streaming to the polls to cast their ballot in a presidential election seen as the nation's most unpredictable in decades.

With three hours to go, nearly 74% had already voted, exceeding the total turnout for the last elections in 2002.

Twelve hopefuls are seeking a spot in the second-round run-off on 6 May.

The leading candidates are centre-right Nicolas Sarkozy, socialist Segolene Royal, centrist Francois Bayrou and far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.

At 1500 GMT, turnout stood at 73.87%, according to the interior ministry, the highest rate in a first round since at least 1981.

Correspondents say many French voters approached the election in a mood of mingled fear and hope, believing France needs change after 12 years under President Jacques Chirac but unsure which direction to opt for.
There are more than one million newly registered voters, the biggest increase in 25 years.

1600 GMT - 22 April: Polls begin to close
1800 GMT - 22 April: Early exit polls
1800 GMT - 25 April: Official results
27 April: Campaigning restarts
6 May: Second round poll
10 May: Final official results

Whoever wins, says the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus, it will mark a change of political generation and perhaps a shift in French international priorities, making this election matter even to those outside France.

BBC News has an interesting feature, now common for many major news stories, showing the views of an array of 'ordinary' people on the issue at hand.

I'd say my views are most on par with Muriel Calvez, who states:
Sadly, I feel that my vote will probably be more of a vote against a candidate - or several candidates - rather than a vote in favour of anyone.
The problem with the rest of the candidates is that they represent extremes - either the extreme left or the extreme right.

I consider myself more of a centre-left voter, but I cannot find any candidate that truly represents my views.

I feel like there is a lot of choice - but also no choice at all.
She said she will most likely vote for Segolene Royal or Francois Bayrou.

Hazem Eseifan also makes some strong points on the two candidates he is torn between: Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Bayrou.
I will watch both candidates closely between now and election day. I would like to see Sarkozy softening up a bit and for Bayrou to sharpen up.

See also a LRB article on the elections and, a NYT article on how the poverty of immigrants and the troublesome suburbs will play such a large role in the elections.

Sarkozy is disliked by the immigrants; liked by the tough 'law and order' types and xenophobes. He is trying to shift to the right to court some of Le Pen's lighter supporters. Royal's political weaknesses, along with Sarkozy's right-tilt, have empowered centrist Bayrou.

Even for non-voting, third parties such as myself it is a hard choice. Sarkozy will no doubt reform the reform-needy French system, but are some of policies too hard? Royal is ambitious and, at first glance, seems like a model modern liberal, but she is really just aligned with the policies of the Old Left — not in sync with the modern politik (which France ever more needs to be). Bayrou looks decent too, but, like the other two, has interventionist tendencies. He also believes in subsidized farming. France needs to open up and move its economy forward, not remain closed and keep slowing down.

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Pedro Morgado said...

Sarkozy 29%; Segonele 26%

clearthought said...

Thanks for the news info.

Yes it looks as if the second round will be Sarkozy versus Royal. Interesting.