FRANCE IS VOTING April 23, 2007Posted by wmmbb in European Politics.
There are two rounds in the French system. In the first round the twelve candidates effectively compete for the top two positions, and then there is a run-off election about two weeks later to determine the successful candidate for president. They could adopt preferential voting and save themselves the trouble and cost of holding two polls.
The BBC is reporting that early turnout is high, and that this will be one of the most unpredictable elections in decades.
As far as I can tell Nicholas Sarkozy of the UMP, Segolene Royal of the Socialists and Francois Bayrou of the UDF are the leading candidates, with the latter two fighting out the second spot. More people than ever have decided to register to vote making the intermediate and final outcomes more unpredictable.
One of the interesting things about this election, as reported by Deutsche Wella is:
For the first time in a presidential election, some of the 44.5 million registered French voters cast their ballots on electronic voting machines — an innovation that appeared to meet with general approval.
“I was a bit apprehensive at first,” said Yvette Lalanne, 70, in the southwestern city of Toulouse. “But, in fact it’s pretty simple and quick and, I hope, reliable.”
According to the BBC, Sarkozy got almost 31%, Royal 25%. Bayrou 18% and Le Pen 11%. That is 85% of the voters supported the leading four candidates. Despite what I suggested the voting system does effect outcomes and electoral tactics. According to Daniel Cohen-Bendit speaking on DW(video), Sarkozy was positioning himself against Le Pen in the first round. Francois Hollande (Segolene Royal’s husband), the leader of the Socialist Party, notes that Royal got more 10% support that their candidate last time and more than Mitterrand in 1981. The uncertainty is in the level of turnout for the next round and how the votes will be distributed. My guess is that Sarkozy has done well and is well positioned to win the second ballot, although some commentators are suggesting that Bayrou’s vote will split 50-50 (whereas I would have expected 60-40).
The deciding second round will be on 6 May.