France Presidential Elections 2012 (Round 1)

Yesterday, on the 22th of April 2012, was the first round of France's Presidential Elections Ten candidates presented themselves to become the next president of France. They are: Jacques Cheminade, Eva Joly (ecologist), Natalie Arthaud (extreme left wing), Philippe Poutou, Nicolas Dupont Aignan, François Bayrou (center party), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (left wing), Marine Le Pen (extreme right wing), François Hollande (left wing) and Nicolas Sarkozy (right wing). 

Nicolas Sarkozy
François Bayrou
François Hollande 
Nicolas Dupont Aignan
Philippe Poutou
Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Marine Le Pen
Eva Joly
Natalie Arthaud
Jacques Cheminade
Each one of them presented a programme, more or less inviting for the French people, who hope to find THE candidate, who can solve all their problems, such as getting out of the crisis, increasing the country's growth, improving its employment rate, purchase power and more. Some of them call for change, either by controlling import/export of the merchandise by putting more tax, others want change by creating new job-placements, more tax for the very rich people and so on. One thing is certain with this elections, France's future relies on it. 

From 8.30 a.m to 8.00 p.m, the French citizens went to vote. Although the elections come around in the middle of the spring vacations, many of them made an effort to vote, and a lot of others chose to vote by proxy (lack of time to join their voting place or maybe lack of courage?)

The day before, because of the time difference, the overseas French departments (DOM-TOM) and the French expats living overseas already inserted their ballot into the ballot box, and already showed a big interest in Mister Hollande's politics.

Moreover, to avoid all result-diffusion before 8 p.m, sanctions will be given to whoever tries to break the rules. The sanction is a penalty of 75,000 euros. These sanctions have not fully worked, as some results were already announced in social networks such as Twitter, under coded messages. The positive thing, is that not one french channel tried to divulge the results before the time limit.

At 8p.m, all channels announced the estimated results, estimated only because the ballot counting was not finished yet. François Hollande arrived in first place with 28.5%, followed by Nicolas Sarkozy with between 25 and 27%, Marine Le Pen third with approximately 19%, followed by  left-wing Jean-Luc Melenchon with 11%, Bayrou (9%), Eva Joly (2,3%), Poutou (2%), Arthaud then Cheminade with less than 1%.

That night's surprise was the extraordinary performance of Marine Le Pen from the FN (extreme right) with at least 20% while the polls predicted between 15 and 16%. Melenchon's results are also very disappointing (11%) while the polls always estimated him at at least 15 or 16%. The participation rate was at 80%, which shows that the French citizens went to vote, and realized that this election was very important for them, which the media underestimated (they said that the non-participation would be high) The "victory" of Hollande that everybody was waiting for, was not as great as expected, because the gap between him and Sarkozy does not exceed 3 points, while the polls predicted a high rating. Nicolas Sarkozy did not do as bad at all, as he ends up only 1.4 points behind Hollande, which qualifies him for the second round, while some medias doubted his passage. 

This shows that the polls are not that reliable and accurate as they seem, and the "surprise" Sarkozy was expecting was truly there (Marine Le Pen's score). Therefore, the most surprising thing of the night, is that the results were not the same whether  you are on a channel or on an other : the result gap they give is quite big at fluctuates between 0.9 and 2.7 points. For example, on TF1 channel, Hollande gets 28.5% and Sarkozy gets 27.6% and on BFMTW, Hollande gets 29.5% and Sarkozy gets only 26.6%. 

Later on, when the counting is at last finished, the final results are given : Hollande = 28.6% and Sarkozy = 27.2%, which make only a gap of 1,4 points between the two candidates.

After that, on TF1 channel and France 2 and 3 channels, were given debates and speeches of representatives for each party, chatting on the obainted score. The debate was transformed into quarreling, clashing between each party, which made the debate quite hard to understand for the TV spectators.

Each candidate also delivered a speech on their result; Marine Le Pen was very proud and confident, Bayrou was a little disappointed but did not give any voting instructions, Mélenchon asked to vote "against Sarkozy", Joly demanded to vote for Hollande, who spoke a few minutes after, in a very relaxed, happy, confident mood, still with this will to "gather the French people", and finally Nicolas Sarkozy sounded more confident then ever and called upon the "entire people of France".

Now starts the real fight for the second round, with Hollande refusing the three debates proposed by Sarkozy and a fight to bring back and seduce the voices of the other candidates into each camp. According to Coppé, a UMP (right wing) main member, the right wing party would have 48% in total without counting the 9% of Bayrou whereas the left wing would have only 42%. But once again, they are only estimations.

For Sarkozy, the challenge is now to find enough voters amongst the ones from Marine Le Pen and Bayrou, and the French who did not vote. Hollande, has to make sure not to lose silly voices, if he desires to win this elections.

We shall meet again on the 6th of May, for the final results of this presidential elections, and to discover who shall be the next president in France.

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