“This Sunday, France goes to the polls in the first round of the 2012 presidential elections,” writes Euro-Correspondent Lucy Culpepper. “This year election fever is running high, and, for the first time ever, Swiss and Belgian media have announced their intentions to broadcast early estimates of the polling results during Sunday’s first-round voting. A French rule says this is illegal, and any person or business breaking the rule could be fined 75,000 euro.
“The Belgian and Swiss media say they are not subject to French law. Their commitment to their plans has ignited heated debate in France, where no media is permitted to publish any early results from certain polling stations, or exit polls, until 8 p.m., when all the polling stations have closed.
“Sarkozy has stated he is ‘not shocked’ by the developments, ‘because the world has become a village.’ The he said, on Europe 1: ‘Everyone knows we have rules that are sometimes dated…’
“You can follow the voting battle before 8 p.m. on the French Belgian site Le Soir or after the polls close on France 24 (an excellent English-language international news site covering world events from a French perspective).
“Presidential elections in France are organized into two rounds. In the first round, the electorate chooses from 10 candidates. If none of the 10 candidates wins more than half of all ballots in this first round, voters must pick between the two top candidates in a run-off. The run-off will be held, if necessary, on May 6.”