Sunday, 22 April 2012

So I was wrong: Marine Le Pen got 20%

Marine Le Pen: Smiles All Round. Photography: Remi Noyon
Here are the most recent results of the first round (they are still being fully released as I write):
Hollande: 28.8%
Sarkozy: 26.1%
Marine Le Pen: 18.5%
Mélenchon: 11.7%
Bayrou: 8.8%
Joly: 2.3%
Others: the rest...

Would you know it? As I predicted, my predictions were wrong. And how wrong they were.

After all the support that Mélenchon appeared to have, and all the noise being made about him in the media, he must be disappointed with his result. I truly thought that he may catch the protest vote but even then, there was an abstention rate of nearly 20%, particularly shocking when you consider the wide depth of thought within the different candidates.

And then Marine Le Pen received nearly 20% of the vote. Nearly 1 in 5 French people voted for the National Front, a xenophobic and Islamophobic party, entirely against immigration, and a party that claims that it is the "only opposition to the left". Marine Le Pen's new approach has certainly brought in more youth and it is certainly worrying. No wonder there are immigr

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Predictions for the first round of the 2012 French Elections

I thought that I would make things a little more interesting by putting some predictions out there. I will mention that my predictions are often wrong so do not expect too much from them.

1st:  Nicolas Sarkozy
2nd: François Hollande
3rd: Jean-Luc Mélenchon
4th: Marine Le Pen

As you can see, I do believe that the Left Front candidate Mélenchon will have done enough to take some support away from both Hollande from left-wing supporters and also from Marine Le Pen, in terms of supporters who are fed up of the mainstream parties.

For now, all there is to do is wait. You can also read my analysis of the French elections so far here:

France 2012: The road to Élysée

Tomorrow, France will decide its representatives from a list of 10 candidates. The majority will receive a combined vote of less than 10%. Two weeks ago, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was part of that majority and yesterday night I went to Place de la Republique, the central area in Le Mans, to see a large screen displaying a live speech by the Left Front candidate. A few weeks ago, Mélenchon was barely mentioned; he wasn’t making enough noise to capture the attention of the French public. Yet, yesterday, there was a larger crowd than I have ever seen gathered in the little square.

Mélenchon has managed to garner support from around the country, while taking somewhat radical positions. One of his major arguments is that there needs to be greater wealth redistribution in France; as President, he would place a 100% tax on earnings over £300,000. He also speaks about the failure of neo-liberalism, and lambasts European leaders for their inability to deal with the economic downturn - a sentiment which Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has endorsed (though I'm not entirely sure he would agree with all that Mélenchon has to say!). This, coupled with claims that Sarkozy is a candidate of the rich, ensures that Mélenchon is providing a distinct voice; incidentally, Sarkozy did not help to refute this claim when he put away his €55,000 watch before shaking hands with supporters, inspiring rumours that he feared it might be stolen).