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
ants (like those in my previous blog) who want to get out of the country.

And the top two; it's the first time since 1958 that a non-incumbent has won the most votes in the first round so it's certainly a little shocking, even if Hollande was expected to win. Where does this leave the two?

Hollande has already reached out to the voters of Mélanchon, from the Left Front, and the Green candidate Éva Joly in his victory speech. Sarkozy's reaction is clear, and he will be making even further moves on the right to try and seduce Le Pen's voters. However, a poll from TNS Sofres show that only 40% of Le Pen's voters will vote Sarkozy in the second round and 33% will abstain.

In a rather strange 'victory' speech, Sarkozy challenged Hollande to three debates; Sarkozy still believes that he can show off Hollande's lack of government experience in these debates. Yet polls for the second round are putting Hollande far ahead at 56% and Sarkozy at 44%. Hollande needs to continue to work hard, but it's certainly his to lose.

Update: Hollande has rejected the three debate challenge, insisting that the traditional one debate is sufficient.

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