By Alex Lantier in France:
23 April 2012
Socialist Party (PS) candidate François Hollande and incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy received the highest vote totals in Sunday’s first round of the French presidential elections, advancing to the second round to be held on May 6.
Hollande won an estimated 28 percent of the vote, with Sarkozy following at 27 percent. Neo-fascist candidate Marine Le Pen’s score of 19 percent surpassed poll estimates, as well as the 16.8 percent score of her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2002 elections. Two other candidates won significant scores: Left Front candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon at 11 percent—down from previous estimates of 14 to 15 percent—and the Democratic Movement’s (MoDem) François Bayrou, a right-wing “centrist” candidate, at 9 percent.
Europe-Ecology-the Greens (EELV) candidate Eva Joly won 2 percent, New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) candidate Philippe Poutou won 1 percent and Workers Struggle (LO) candidate Nathalie Arthaud won 0.6 percent of the vote.
Hollande is currently expected to win handily in a match-up with Sarkozy, with polls showing him winning at least 56 percent of the vote. Sarkozy emerges weakened from the vote, as the first incumbent president of France’s Fifth Republic not to win the first round of the presidential elections.
At 80 percent. voter participation was larger than expected. This reflected broad popular hostility to Sarkozy’s policies of social austerity and war in the Middle East, and the sense that the French population faces a deep social and international crisis. This drove voters to the polls despite what was widely described as a lackluster campaign, where voters could not clearly distinguish between the candidates. Some 38 percent of voters indicated before the elections that they did not firmly support any candidate, and many voters cast ballots by default.
Yesterday’s result sets the stage for a race between two pro-war, pro-austerity candidates preparing deep attacks on the working class and for explosive class struggles in the coming presidential term. Hollande is committed to slashing over €115 billion ($US152 billion) in budget deficits and has supported French imperialism’s wars in Libya and Syria.
Why no one should overlook the extremely big limits in the ways in which Hollande would be an improvement on Sarkozy; still it would be great to drive the corrupt racist warmonger anti-worker politician Sarkozy out of the presidential palace. And out of politics altogether (which Sarkozy has promised if he would lose the presidency. It is to be hoped that will become the only promise which Sarkozy has ever kept).
Second round of the presidential elections: here.
President Nicolas Sarkozy is desperate to win the votes of the 6.5 million people who voted for the third placed candidate, the neo-fascist Marine Le Pen: here.
Tunisia: From 2007 to 2012 – French Vote in Nation Continues to Favor the Socialist Party Candidate: here.
French sick of Sarkozy: here.