Hollande v Sarkozy
The second round of the French presidential election will be between the socialist candidate François Hollande and incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande beat Sarkozy by a narrow margin in the first round yesterday. Although official results have still to be announced, the unofficial figures put Hollande on 28.63% and Sarkozy on 27.08%. It is worth noting that the figure for Sarkozy is slightly better that the opinion polls were suggesting.
The big surprise of the night was the strong showing for the far right, Eurosceptic candidate Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN). She scored 18.01%, a better margin than had been suggested by the opinion polls and a much better margin than that achieved by her father when he was leader of the party. This strong showing suggests that Sarkozy may have to appeal more to the right wing than the centre which would be the normal approach in a second round.
Whilst Sarkozy has received no endorsements so far from any of the other eight candidates, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Front (FDG) who took 11.13% of the vote immediately announced that his supporters should ensure that Sarkozy was defeated in the second round; a tacit approval for Hollande.
A spokesperson for Marin Le Pen said that they did not have the votes of their supporters and each person must choose to vote for either candidate or abstain. The only other candidate to get a reasonable percentage of the vote was François Bayrou of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) with 9.11%. At the time of writing he had not made any statement of support for a second round candidate.
The second round will take place in two weeks’ time on 6th May. With many of the French newspapers siding with François Hollande and second round opinion polls suggesting he leads by 56% to 44%, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has a mountain to climb, one which has never been achieved before in French elections.