News

    Voter Anger Bodes Change in France

    Socialist Party candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande meets a resident with his companion Valerie Trierweiler, center, as he tours Tulle, after voting , May 6, 2012.
    Socialist Party candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande meets a resident with his companion Valerie Trierweiler, center, as he tours Tulle, after voting , May 6, 2012.

    Sunday's national elections in Greece and France, along with local elections in Italy, are expected to be shaped by voter anger over Europe's high unemployment, sluggish growth and harsh government austerity measures.  In France, that anger could see President Nicolas Sarkozy lose to Socialist rival Francois Hollande in the runoff presidential election.

    Voters trickle out of a municipal building on a chilly morning, heading home - or to a street market just around the corner to do their Sunday shopping.

    Cyril Blanchard is one of them. A manager at Thompson-Reuters financial company, he says France's economic problems have helped shape his vote. Blanchard's choice: conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    "I think we really need to do something to fight against the crisis and to reduce our deficits and to work on the wealth of the country, so that's what decided my vote," he said.

    During his campaign, Sarkozy tried to convince voters he has the experience and stamina to make the tough choices that France needs at a time of high unemployment and almost zero growth. The French president also talked tough on curbing immigration.

    Socialist candidate Francois Hollande says France needs measures to boost growth as well as cut spending.  He wants to renegotiate a European fiscal pact in this direction.  While Mr. Hollande also wants less immigration, his rhetoric and platform are less harsh than Sarkozy's.

    Hollande's arguments have convinced teacher Delphine Barnier Schilot, who cast her ballot for the Socialist candidate.

    Schilot believes Sarkozy's five years in office have been negative in every way. She says Hollande is fair and has integrity. She believes he will be able to tackle France's difficult economic problems.

    Sunday's vote caps a bitter runoff campaign between the two candidates, who traded barbs and accusations of lying.

    At the market near the polling station, some French, like fish seller Abdel Chili, are turned off by both men. He's cast an empty ballot in this runoff.

    Chili sees little difference between Sarkozy and Hollande. But he's particularly angry at the French president, whom he calls a liar. But he says all politicians are just actors.

    Chili's angry words are reflected across Europe, where people are bitter and tired after several years of tough economic times. They have vented their anger with their ballots, casting out more than half a dozen governments to date.

    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
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Hasan
    May 06, 2012 11:11 AM
    Bye Sarkozy and old fashioned policies

    by: ELChocko
    May 06, 2012 7:05 AM
    The French will lead the way that government will work in the future...print more money and buy off poor people with bread cake. France is a great country, maybe they will remember their history of internal courage and hard work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    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 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 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.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora