News

    France Prepares for Final Round of Presidential Election

    Supporters of France's president and candidate for re-election in 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy, wave French national flags, during a campaign meeting, in Toulon, southern France, May 3, 2012.
    Supporters of France's president and candidate for re-election in 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy, wave French national flags, during a campaign meeting, in Toulon, southern France, May 3, 2012.

    French voters go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president, with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy fighting an uphill battle against the Socialist Party challenger, Francois Hollande.

    In many ways, political experts say Sunday’s run-off election is a classic right-wing/left-wing showdown in French politics.

    But Dominique Moisi, senior adviser to the French Institute of International Affairs in Paris, says there is another element in this presidential campaign - a clash of personalities.

    “If you want to caricature that a little bit, it’s between a man who is perceived as too much - Nicolas Sarkozy - and a man who may be perceived as not enough - Francois Hollande,” said Moisi.

    It is a battle, he adds, between “a man whose energy is remarkable, incredible [Sarkozy], but whose nervousness or political opportunism makes people uneasy.

    “So there is a personal rejection of Nicolas Sarkozy that makes this election something unique,” Moisi concluded.

    Nicolas Sarkozy
    François Hollande
    Nicolas Sarkozy

     

    • Elected President of France in 2007
    • Raised France's legal retirement age from 60 to 62
    • Born in 1955 and raised in Paris
    • Married to former supermodel Carla Bruni
    • Committed to balancing France's budget by 2016
    François Hollande

     

    • Has never held national government office
    • Called for 75% tax on France's richest people
    • Wants to cut president's salary by 30%
    • Born 1954 in Roen
    • Not married; former partner of Segolene Royal

    After five years in office, Sarkozy is also seen by many French citizens as not delivering on his promises - especially in the area of economics.

    Charles Kupchan, a European expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the French president is facing an uphill battle for re-election for two reasons.

    “One is that the economy has not come back to life,” Kupchan said, despite Sarkozy’s promised “liberalization of the French market place.”

    “He’s made some incremental steps to tax reform and to try to liberalize the labor market, and he’s raised the retirement age,” he said, “but French growth is really stuck in neutral.

    Kupchan also says, “Sarkozy seems to have lost his political touch. Many, many French voters see him as insufficiently ‘presidential’- he’s down in the trenches. They see him as hyper-active and unable to stick to a steady course.”

    Latest public opinion surveys indicate that barring a miracle, Sarkozy will lose the presidency on Sunday to the Socialist Party candidate, Francois Hollande.

    Experts predict that Sarkozy will not even get solid support from the followers of the extreme right wing National Front Party led by Marine Le Pen.

    Five years ago, Sarkozy won considerable support from the National Front, but experts say he has alienated many of its followers by not delivering on his promises, including one to curb immigration.

    “If all the National Front voters were going to vote for Nicolas Sarkozy, they would make a difference,” said Moisi. “But we know from public opinion polls that only 60 percent, at most, of the National Front voters are going to pronounce themselves for Nicolas Sarkozy.”

    The other 40 percent, he says, will either vote for Hollande or abstain.

    Moisi says National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who came in third in the first round election last month, would not vote for either Hollande or Sarkozy.

    “Her ideal is a defeat of Sarkozy and a reconstruction of the right with the National Front as an essential part,” Moisi says,

    To make that happen, he says, Le Pen is looking forward to the French legislative elections in June.

    “She’s waiting with greed, looking at the new importance of her political party within the right-wing of France.”

    As for Sunday’s presidential balloting, Moisi and others say that ironically, the French are not necessarily going to vote for Francois Hollande because of his policies, but because he is not Nicolas Sarkozy.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.