It’s easy to forget in the battle royale between the two champions of the center-left (François Hollande of the Parti socialiste) and the center-right (incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy of the latest right-wing Gaullist incarnation, Union pour un Mouvement Populaire) of the French presidential election, the first round ballot gives voters a choice of nine additional candidates.
From among those nine, the most well-known are Front national candidate Marine Le Pen, who is polling in third place and whose father finished second in the 2002 presidential election, and centrist Mouvement démocrate candidate François Bayrou, who finished a close third in the 2007 presidential election. Perhaps equally well-known is former French foreign minister and prime minister Dominique de Villepin, whose presidential campaign in 2012 has yet to catch the imagination of the French electorate.
Join François Hollande, Ségolène Royal, Lionel Jospin, Martine Aubry and the whole Parti socialiste gang flip out about blowing another French election despite leading the polls.
The language may be French, but the whistle-past-the-graveyard feeling is instantly translatable to any campaign that’s watched a once-formidable lead slip away in electoral disaster, especially when the campaign is riding high and has six weeks left until voting day. See Jospin, 2002. See Royal, 2007.
Sings Hollande in the parody:
en 2012 c’est mon tour [In 2012, it’s my turn]
faut qu’je passe le premier tour [I must make it beyond the first round]
sinon comme Royal et Jospin [otherwise like Royal and Jospin]
je vais passer pour un crétin [I will be taken for a fool]
While campaigning in Bayonne over the weekend, French president Nicolas Sarkozy was ignominiously forced to take refuge in a local bar when Basque separatists and other protestors started throwing eggs at the beleaguered French leader, shouting in Basque dialect, “Nicolas kampora!” — Nicolas get out!
A far cry from the start of the election, when Sarkozy seemed to take the initiative in the campaign and define the terms of the presidential race for the first time, buoyed by the confidence of European leaders across the continent, including German chancellor Angela Merkel. In the immediate aftermath of his campaign announcement, Sarkozy also bounced somewhat upward in the polls — and as recently as last week, polled just 1.5% behind frontrunning Parti socialiste candidate François Hollande. Continue reading Hollande retakes the initiative→
Frecnh presidential frontrunner François Hollande went to London yesterday, campaigning in a city with som many French residents that it’s often called Paris-on-the-Thames. A clip from The Guardian above shows Hollande meeting with the UK Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband at King’s College, London.
Traditionally, most French voters based in the UK have been based in London and, in particular, the City of London, home to London’s financial industry, one of the world’s centers of global finance. With over 400,000 French residents, it is home to more French citizens than all but Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, and typically, those French voters have leaned to the right.
It’s been a relatively steady week and a half since French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced his candidacy for reelection with a mix of populist stances with respect to France and steady-ship statesmanship with respect to Europe, all the while showing some of the frenetic energy that won the Élysée in 2007.
The first crop of post-announcement polls show that Sarkozy is catching up to Parti socialiste candidate François Hollande in the first round, but still faces a double-digit gap in a second-round runoff against Hollande.
Earlier this evening, Nicolas Sarkozy launched the most uphill battle for reelection of any French President of the Fifth Republic.
Sarkozy is both lurching to the right and playing the European statesman card. Acknowledging that the next five years would be different from the first five, he continued to call for separate referenda on both immigration and on unemployment benefits, with French unemployment at a 12-year high of 9.3 percent. Sarkozy harkened back to his 2007 message of rupture with the past; he noted that for 30 or 40 years, work has been devalued, and he promised that anyone with the health and desire to work will have a job or training:
Depuis trente ou quarante ans, on a dévalorisé le travail. Mon projet, c’est de mettre le travail au centre de tout. Tous ceux qui ont la force la santé pour travailler auront un emploi ou une formation. Et ceux qui n’en peuvent plus, qui sont malades, on aura la solidarité.
So it looks like Nicolas Sarkozy is gearing up to announce his formal campaign for reelection tomorrow.
In one sense, the optics will be horrible given Moody’s Monday downgrade — in one fell swoop, the credit ratings agency downgraded Spain, Italy, Portgual and others, while shifting the outlook on France’s current Aaa rating to “negative.” Standard and Poor’s downgraded France’s credit rating from Aaa to Aa last month, in what was seen as a stinging rebuke to Sarkozy.
I noted last week that Marine Le Pen could well shut out French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round.
Sure enough, I read this as an attempt, however clumsily, to win some of those culturally right-wing Front National voters back. Sarkozy, as Minister of the Interior, co-opted Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the 2007 elections in an incredibly skillful way.
With Marine polling substantially higher than her father’s 10.4% in 2007, it’s clear that Sarkozy will sending some quiet, but sure, signals to FN voters to attract the support he’ll need in the first round to advance to the runoff.
Ten years ago, the left was so divided in the first round of the French presidential election that none of the left’s candidates, including then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, made it into either of the top-two wholesale mlb jerseys slots. The result was a nearly-farcical faceoff between then-President Jacques Chirac against longtime far-right Front national leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
In addition to Jospin, who finished just narrowly in third place with 16% of the vote, five additional leftists pulled between 3% and 6% of the vote, including Jean-Pierre Chevènement, a former Parti socialiste minister (minister of defense from 1988 wholesale nba jerseys to 1991 and minister of the Interior from 1997 to 2000), who took 5.33% of the first-round ballot. Chirac won the resulting runoff with 82% of the vote, including most of those frustrated voters ranging from center-left to far left, whose only alternative to Chirac, recently convicted for corrupition, was the xenophobic Le Pen. Continue reading Ten years later, could another Le Pen sneak into a runoff?→