News

    France Holds Round One of Presidential Election

    Jobs and France's sickly economy are top issues during this presidential election.

    French President and UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy leave after casting their votes in the first round of French presidential elections in Paris, France, Sunday, April 22, 2012.
    French President and UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy leave after casting their votes in the first round of French presidential elections in Paris, France, Sunday, April 22, 2012.
    Lisa Bryant

    Voters in France cast ballots Sunday for their favorite among 10 candidates vying to become the country's next leader.  A second-round runoff will take place May 6 between the top two vote getters, incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Francois Hollande. 

    Just a block from grim housing projects, people trickle into a primary school at Aulnay-sous-Bois to vote in the French presidential election.  They have 10 candidates to choose from, ranging from former Troskyist Jean-Luc Melonchon on the far left to anti-immigration candidate Marine le Pen, on the far right.

    Twenty-seven-year-old Malian Binta Chacha arrives at the polling station with her husband and three small children.  She says she is voting for the first time in her life because she wants change. Her candidate: Socialist front-runner Francois Hollande.  

    Chacha says that under conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy nothing has changed.  People cannot find adequate housing and work.  She says Sarkozy blames France's economic problems on immigration, but she says immigrants are doing the hard jobs that French refuse to do.

    Jobs and France's sickly economy are top issues during this presidential election.  That is particularly true in tough, working class suburbs like Aulnay-sous-Bois with high immigrant populations and high unemployment rates.  Aulnay was among dozens of suburbs that exploded in rioting in 2005, in France's worst bout of urban violence in recent history.  

    French Election Polls
    French Election Polls
    Hollande held a campaign rally at Aulnay-Sous-Bois earlier this month.  He promises to tax the weathly more and pour more state funds into job creation, among other measures.

    Sarkozy is banking on his experience steering France through hard economic times.  As president, he promised people would earn more by working more.  But unemployment grew during his presidency, and today voters like Aulnay storekeeper Embark Essaidi are disillusioned by his promises.

    Essaidi believes the election campaign has largely ignored concerns in poor suburbs like Aulnay-sous-Bois - like youth unemployment that reaches up to 40 percent in some places.

    Resident James Hermemin agrees.  

    But Hermemin believes Sarkozy will likely be elected to a second term.  He says Hollande lacks leadership experience, which France's current president has shown during difficult economic times.

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora