News

    Socialist in Strong Position to Win French Presidency

    Socialist Party candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande, left, and current President and conservative candidate for re-election Nicolas Sarkozy , right, pose before a televised debate in Paris,  May, 2, 2012.
    Socialist Party candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande, left, and current President and conservative candidate for re-election Nicolas Sarkozy , right, pose before a televised debate in Paris, May, 2, 2012.

    France holds its presidential runoff election Sunday, with Socialist challenger Francois Hollande expected to defeat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

    The latest opinion polls indicate President Sarkozy has narrowed the gap behind his Socialist rival, but Hollande is still expected to emerge victorious.

    In office five years, President Sarkozy has faced criticism for his handling of the economy, as well as his brash style.

    Council on Foreign Relations analyst Charles Kupchan says the president has lost the popularity he once enjoyed.

    "Sarkozy promised what he called 'a rupture' - a break with the past, a liberalization of the French marketplace," he said. "And he has made some incremental steps to tax reform and to try to liberalize the labor market, and he has raised the retirement age - but French growth is really stuck in neutral.  And the second thing is that Sarkozy seems to have lost his political touch.  Many, many French voters see him as insufficiently 'presidential' - he is down in the trenches.  They see him as hyperactive and unable to stick to a steady course."

    Hollande is a veteran politician who headed the Socialist Party for several years, but he has never held a top government post.  Friday marked his and Sarkozy's final day of campaigning.

    "Don't imagine that your problems will dissipate, evaporate suddenly with the outgoing candidate.  No, we will have to work together," said Hollande. "I can't disappoint you, that's why I have promised nothing in this campaign that I am not able to live up to.  You will not be disappointed, you will not be forgotten.  You will be defended, you will be respected because what constitutes our strength, yours and mine, is that you will respect your next president and the next head of state will respect each and everyone one of you for whatever you are, citizens of the Republic.  Together on the sixth of May, long live the Republic, long live France."

    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

    The Socialist candidate's presidential bid received a boost Thursday, when former candidate, centrist Francois Bayrou, said he would vote for him.  Bayrou won 9 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential elections last month.

    President Sarkozy downplayed Bayrou's announcement at a campaign rally Friday.

    "Each one of us, each one of us has the decision in our hands," he said. "Those who don't vote will let others decide for them.  Those who vote, will decide with their spirit and conscience, but they should not let others decide for them."

    Meanwhile, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who finished third in the first round of balloting last month, said she will not support either candidate in the runoff.

    In a televised debate Wednesday, Hollande and Sarkozy accused each other of lying during exchanges on economic policies.  In campaigning, Hollande has blamed the president for France's unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent and called for sweeping changes to improve the nation's public finances.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: mart
    May 06, 2012 3:03 PM
    Vive la France, vive la république

    by: White Devil
    May 05, 2012 7:41 PM
    Ffffft! Le Pen is going to kick both of these clowns around.

    by: Thierry
    May 05, 2012 2:18 PM
    JM: "Oust Sarko from the Presidency". Unfortunately this is the leading simplistic idea floating around in the French streets. The global economic crisis will not just magically disappear because S goes out. You do not like his style but at least he kept France on the map. Besides being 'a la mode anti-Sarko', I am not sure what Hollande is really proposing. More spending? Protected jobs? This would have been ok under Mitterand, but in 2012 with a global market?

    by: Lou Rodrigues
    May 05, 2012 2:03 PM
    How a Russian sounding name like "Nicolas Sarkozy" got elected as a French President in the last election, is beyond imagination. To me he always seemed very fake and untrustyworthy.

    by: Johnnydoeist
    May 05, 2012 10:18 AM
    Good riddance to Nicolas "Ghetto Burner" Sarkozy. Instead of owning up to his failures, he tried to shift the blame of his shortcomings on immigrants, minorities and the labour unions.

    by: Jean-Marc
    May 05, 2012 8:41 AM
    I'm about to vote to oust "Sarko" from the Presidency, mostly because he didn't act properly during his 5-years term and shows no sign of remorse. For 5 years, he displayed his contempt of ordinary citizens and his servility to the rich, he attempted to seize control of the Media and Justice, and now he blames the unemployed, the immigrants and the labour unions for the economic crisis.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora