“Following round-one voting yesterday,” reports Euro-Correspondent Lucy Culpepper, “President Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande are to go head-to-head in the second round of the French presidential election on May 6. The incumbent Sarkozy, leader of the Union Pour Un Mouvement Populaire, (UMP), a center right party, will battle it out with the socialist candidate Hollande.
“Sarkozy took 27.18% of the vote, Hollande 28.63%. This is the first time a sitting president seeking re-election has been beaten into second place in the first round. While many were not surprised by the two top names to go forward in two weeks’ time, they were amazed that third place went to Marine Le Pen of the far right anti-immigration National Front, who got 17.9% of the vote.
“Sarkozy and Hollande have their work cut out for them over the next two weeks. Commentators suggest that the majority of Le Pen’s voters will transfer to the next best thing (or least worst option), i.e. Sarkozy, but that a sizable percentage may swing right across the political divide and follow Hollande.
“Or they may abstain to demonstrate their displeasure with both candidates’ policies and wait for the French Legislative election on June 10 and 17, when Le Pen is expected to win seats in the French Parliament for the first time since 1986. En avant!”