Daily Archives: April 22, 2012

Gideon Rachman

The initial reaction of many pundits to the first round of the French presidential election was that the vote was very bad news for President Sarkozy. No sitting president has ever failed to win the first round of voting – yet Sarko is trailing François Hollande. Only around one-in-four French citizens have voted for the incumbent president, which is a bit of a slap in the face. The mood for change is clear. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the father of the Far Right (literally and metaphorically), put it with characteristic brusque brutality, when he told French television – “Sarkozy is beaten.”

And yet, as the night has worn on, I have begun to wonder. Partly this is because the results have narrowed, as the votes have been counted. Initial projections put Sarkozy more than three points behind Hollande. In the end, the gap may be two points or less. Then, if you start adding up the votes of the minor parties, it looks as if it might be easier to construct a right-wing than a left-wing majority. Read more