The first round of French presidential elections were held today. There were a total of 10 candidates running, who are listed below:
-President Nicolas Sarkozy: Union for a Popular Movement (center-right, conservatism, Gaullism, Christian Democrats, etc.), incumbent
-François Hollande: Socialist Party (center-left, social democracy), President of the General Council of Corrèze, former First Secretary of the Socialist Party and MP
-Marine Le Pen: National Front Party President (far-right nationalist populist) and MEP
-Jean-Luc Mélenchon: Left Front MEP (far-left, big tent socialist)
-François Bayrou: President Democratic Movement Party (Centrist, pro-EU) and MP
-Eva Joly: Greens MEP and former magistrate (Green, progressive)
-Nicolas Dupont-Aignan: Arise the Republic MP (Gaullist split from UMP) and Mayor of Yerres
-Philippe Poutou: New Anticapitalist Party (big tent socialist)
-Nathalie Arthaud: Workers' Struggle (Trotskyist)
-Jacques Cheminade: Solidarity and Progress (LaRouche outfit)
According to Le Monde, first round results are estimated as:
François Hollande (PS) 28.8 % Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP) 26.1 % Marine Le Pen (FN) 18.5 % Jean-Luc Mélenchon (FdG) 11.7% François Bayrou (MoDem) 8.8 % Eva Joly (Green) 2.3% Nicolas Dupont-aignan (DLR) 1.8% Philippe Poutou (NPA) 1.2 % Nathalie Arthaud (LO) 0.6 % Jacques Cheminade (SeP, LaRouche) 0.2 %
Turnout was fairly high too, with slightly over 80% on some estimates.
22 April 2012 Last updated at 16:20 ET France election: Francois Hollande 'wins first round'
French Socialist Francois Hollande has won most votes in the first round of the country's presidential election, early results show.
They suggest he got more than 28% of votes against about 26% for centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
The two men will face each other in a second round on 6 May.
Mr Sarkozy said it had been a "crisis vote" and called for three presidential debates before the run-off. The poll has been dominated by economic worries.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen came third with about 19% of the vote, ahead of seven other candidates.
The estimates - based on votes counted in polling stations that closed early at 18:00 (16:00 GMT) - were announced by French media when all voting ended at 20:00.
Afterwards, Mr Hollande said he was "best placed to become the next president of the republic" and that Mr Sarkozy had been punished by voters.
It is the first time a French president running for re-election has failed to win the first round since the start of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
Mr Sarkozy - who has been in power since 2007 - said he understood "the anguish felt by the French" in a "fast-moving world".
He called for three debates during the two weeks to the second round - centring on the economy, social issues, and international relations.
He said he felt confident ahead of the run-off and called on French people to rally behind him. Far-right shock
Turnout on Sunday was high, with more than 80%.
Ms Le Pen, who leads the anti-immigration National Front, achieved more than the breakthrough score polled in 2002 by her father and predecessor, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who got through to the second round with more than 16%.
After the vote, Ms Le Pen told jubilant supporters that the FN's result was "only the start" and that the party was now "the only opposition" to the left.
Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who was supported by the Communist Party, came fourth with almost 12%.
Centrist Francois Bayrou, who was hoping to repeat his high 2007 score of 18%, garnered only about 9%.
Wages, pensions, taxation, and unemployment have been topping the list of voters' concerns.
President Sarkozy has promised to reduce France's large budget deficit and to tax people who leave the country for tax reasons.
Mr Hollande has strongly criticised Mr Sarkozy's economic record.
The Socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year.
He also wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers.
If elected, Mr Hollande would be France's first left-wing president since Francois Mitterrand, who completed two seven-year terms between 1981 and 1995.
If Mr Sarkozy loses he will become the first president not to win a second term since Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1981.
This brought two surprises, with an incumbent placing second in the first round and Le-Pen achieving a score higher than her father's 16%ish back in the 2002 elections, but not advancing to the second round (her father had managed to beat out the PS candidate for the slot that year).
This of course means a second round of elections, which will eave a contest between Sarkzoy and Hollande. As far as the Le Monde coverage tells me, the Green Party (Joly) and the Left Front (Melenchon) are going to urge supporters to go behind Hollande. No announcement from the National Front whether or not they'll want their supporters to throw behind Sarkozy. Other parties have not declared their intent either. Second round will be held on May 5th.
Somewhat worisome that the National Front does so well in France. Recent terror attacks may have contributed to that.
As for Hollande - he seems to have many good ideas. Regulation of the financial markets, investments in education and strengthening the rights of homosexuals. On the other hand, some of his economic ideas (bringing down retirement age, paying for new jobs for unemployed) might not help a whole lot with the Euro-crisis.
For those of you curious about the programs of the candidates, check out this feature at Le Monde. It lets you look at the different platforms of the candidates as well as being able to compare them side to side. Run the text you get through google translate if you can't read French.
The question now turns towards what the second round will hold- in particular what the other candidates will decide to do and who they'll back, if they do so at all. There'll be two weeks until the second round on May 6th-7th. So far, the only solid endorsements have come from Melenchon urging his FdG and other supporters to go behind Hollande as the lesser of two evils against Sarkozy. The Green candidate Joly has also said the same thing. They will mostly go for Hollande then, with a few not deciding to vote.
Neither Bayrou or Le Pen have given instructions to their supporters who to vote for. Le Pen has given a statement but only gloating about her success and what not, nothing really. It's speculated that some 60% of Le Pen voters would go for Sarkozy and 18% for Hollande, with the rest not voting. Bayrou's voters appear to be split three ways, with a slightly larger chunk going for Hollande over Sarkozy and the rest not showing up.
As for the other smaller groups, the LO has told its supporters not to vote for either candidate. DLR, being a Gaullist splinter from UMP, could be expected to go for Sarkozy. Not sure about NPA or the loony LaRouche outfit, but they won't make a difference in the long run anyways.
You can look up more of that speculation here, again in French so if you need a translation you'll have to do that on your own.
Two weeks of the two yelling at one another will ensue though- it is notable that while Hollande showed dismay at the performance of FN Sarkozy did not mention them at all- this being a recognition that Sarkozy wants FN voters to come out and go behind him and he doesn't want to upset them. Heck, Sarkozy's already taken a cue from their playbook with regards to his position on immigration as well as the reactions to the shootings in South France. Hollande for his part will probably continue to try and get anger over Sarkozy's austerity measures flowing and appealing to workers to get behind him, seeing as Sarkozy already entered into the presidential elections with a low approval rating.
To update the ersults listed in the first post, here are the final, official counts from the French Interior Ministry. I've arranged them from highest to lowest.
M. François HOLLANDE 10,273,582 votes 28.63% M. Nicolas SARKOZY 9,753,844 votes 27.18% Mme Marine LE PEN 6,421,773 votes 17.90% M. Jean-Luc MÉLENCHON 3,985,298 votes 11.11% M. François BAYROU 3,275,349 votes 9.13% Mme Eva JOLY 828,451 votes 2.31% M. Nicolas DUPONT-AIGNAN 644,086 votes 1.79% M. Philippe POUTOU, 411,178 votes votes 1.15% Mme Nathalie ARTHAUD 202,562 votes 0.56% M. Jacques CHEMINADE 89,572 votes 0.25%
Le Pen's finally made a statement that she will not back a candidate in the second round. She says for her part she will cast a blank vote and leaves her voters to make that choice on her own. Polls still show that of the Le Pen voters who've voted will favor Sarkzoy over Hollande, though there's still a chunk who will not show up. In either case it appears that Hollande is still favored to win the vote.
French are voting currently in the second round of elections. It is currently projected from exit polling that Hollande has a 52% vote over Sarkozy's 48% vote; at this stage in the elections, it essentially means that Hollande is going to win, and accordingly Sarkozy has admitted defeat. Sarko had seemingly managed to close the gap from previous projections that in worst cases had him 10 points behind Hollande.
Socialist Francois Hollande wins French presidency
Socialist Francois Hollande has been elected as France's new president.
He got about 52% of votes in Sunday's run-off, according to early projections, against 48% for centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
Mr Sarkozy has admitted defeat, saying: "Francois Hollande is the president of France and he must be respected."
Analysts say the vote has wide implications for the whole eurozone. Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in member countries.
Exuberant Hollande supporters have already converged on Place de la Bastille in Paris - a traditional rallying point of the Left - to celebrate.
Mr Hollande capitalised on France's economic woes and President Sarkozy's unpopularity.
The socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year.
He also wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers.
In his concession speech, Mr Sarkozy told stunned supporters that he was "taking responsibility for defeat.
Hinting about his possible political future, he said: "My place will no longer be the same. My involvement in the life of my country will now be different."
During the campaign, he said he would leave politics if he lost the election.
It is only the second time an incumbent president has failed to win re-election since the start of France's Fifth Republic in 1958.
The last was Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who lost to socialist Francois Mitterrand in 1981. Mr Mitterrand had two terms in office until 1995.
The new president is expected to be inaugurated later this month.
A parliamentary election is due in June.
Hollande would be the first president from the PS since Mitterrand, who was president from 1981 to 1995.
Mitterand ended his economic crisis with an austerity program. Took a couple of years until he figured that out though. And some of the effects of his early career contribute to the problems France faces today.
Not so sure what Hollande will do. If he is smart then he used the leftist promises to get power and will continue with the austerity plans. If he screws up France will be next in line after Spain, I doubt that the Euro zone will survive that many hits.
Victim of Forgotten HopeForum bystander
26th April 2004
While I may agree with Hollande more on many points, I have to give credit to Sarkozy for rejoining the NATO command structure and similar points that had been a taboo in French politics for long. As for immigration issues, Sarkozy is more strong on Romani issues but Hollande took positions closer to Sarkozy as well not least because Le Pen got 20 % of the votes in the first round.
What worries me with Hollande is his promises for the public sector. He actually proposes more jobs like tens of thousands of new teachers. In the economical crisis it is important not to fail with inefficient public sector. Like the Greek politicians populistically always promised not to cut anything. I would agree with him if the Euro wasn't in a crisis.
Interesting to see how the French-German cooperation will turn. Merkel and Sarkozy were a good bunch, but Hollande wants even more cooperation so it's up to the Germans.
Rikupsoni;5637814 Interesting to see how the French-German cooperation will turn. Merkel and Sarkozy were a good bunch, but Hollande wants even more cooperation so it's up to the Germans.
Merkel is in an unpleasant situation now. With France and the Netherlands she has lost two important allies. An attempt by Germany to spearhead the austerity plans will be risky, populists all over Europe will use the memory of the evil German invader to their advantage. Not that the Euro-zone isn't worth saving (in the long term it is necessary to compete), but the probability of that happening sinks with every election.
I think an important thing to remember though is that most politicians rarely implement their full program- some of them of course were meant to get votes and attention; what I'm trying to say is that sometimes slogans are just that, slogans. The way they are actually going to be implemented will be a different story. There's going to be some parliamentary elections in June I think which will better indicate how able Hollande will be able to implement some of his campaign promises.
MrFancypants;5637813Mitterand ended his economic crisis with an austerity program. Took a couple of years until he figured that out though. And some of the effects of his early career contribute to the problems France faces today.
I think it must must be said though that much of what he promised never really came about, the 101 proposals they promised. Some were implemented relating to labor reform and such, others got shelved and others had to be altered. I don't think Hollande is nearly as much a radical as the media makes him out to be, seeing as he's usually seen as representative of the PS's more pro-market and reformist third way soc dem wing against the older wing of old guard socdem.
But yeah, things have become more difficult for Merkel to say the least, though I think it's possible for her to work with Hollande. Just the time to achieve that understanding might be time that could have otherwise been put towards implementing/continuing a policy.