Today (or yesterday in Europe…) was the French election. Here’s a guest report from one of the European Politics students on the early results.
Today is the first round of France’s presidential election. This is one of the more significant elections taking place in Europe this year because it will greatly contribute to the shape of the European Union in the upcoming years. Will the infamous Merkozy legacy survive the 2012 elections? Or will Germany’s conservative Angela Merkel have to negotiate with a new socialist president in France?
As of 3:30 pm today on my side of the ocean (Pacific Time), the front runner of the first round of the presidential election is France is Socialist Francois Hollande with 28.40% of the votes. In second place is none other than the conservative Nikolas Sarkozy, with 25.50% of the votes when the polls closed. Both candidates will be facing one another in the second round of the election that will take place this upcoming May 6th. Merkel is likely finding ways to boost Sarkozy’s campaign by then, for it is unlikely that this fiscally conservative political leader will want to negotiate the financial future of the European Union with a socialist. Even though Merkel and Sarkozy do not always agree on every issue, they at least can agree that they do not want to spend too much money saving the Union, but instead enforcing austerity measures.
The eight other candidates running for the president’s position were far behind the two leaders in terms of percentages, with the exception of the National Front. Recent anti-immigrant sentiments and problems of multiculturalism have dominated European politics this past year, including France. Marie Le Pen, the presidential candidate of the National Front, has expressed some extreme views denouncing immigrants and their inability to integrate in the French way of life. With these seemingly racist views, she was able to get about 20% of the votes. This should serve as an alarm for the next wave of government officials, for the problem of immigrants and integration are becoming popular topics that the public wants to see resolved. Centrist parties should attempt to solve, or at least calm, these issues that exist in France, including the Muslim ghettos, discrimination and unemployment of minorities.
The close election results in this year’s campaign do not yield a clear understanding to who exactly will be president next and the results of the second round are directly deciding not only the future of France, but the entirety of the European Union as well. The actions of Merkel, Le Pen, Hollande and Sarkozy in the few upcoming weeks will have to be carefully planned and executed, for the odds can be in anyone’s favor.
Hollande Emerges as Frontrunner in French Presidential Election . (2012, April 22). Voice of America. Retrieved April 22, 2012, from www.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Hollande-Emerges-as-Frontrunner-in-French-Presidential-Election-148449885.html
Poirier, A. (2012, February 7). Angela Merkel for French president, anyone?. The Guardian . Retrieved April 22, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/07/angela-merkel-french-president-merkozy
Taylor, P. (2012, April 22). UPDATE 9-Hollande edges Sarkozy in French vote, Le Pen surges. Reuters. Retrieved April 22, 2012, from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/22/france-election-idUSL5E8FM30Q20120422
Topping, A. (2012, April 22). French presidential election: first round – live updates. The Guardian . Retrieved April 22, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/french-election-blog-2012/2012/apr/22/french-elections-2012-france