Monday, April 23, 2007

April 22, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007 Today is the first round of the elections here in France. Brief explanation of the French elections. Any person who gets the required number of signatures can run in this first round. If one person happens to get over 51%, they are elected and it is finished. [This rarely happens. I think the last time was 1958.] So baring the majority sweep, there is the second round for the top two candidates the first part of May. Five years ago, everyone thought it would be Chirac and Jospin. The Jospin voters stayed home and VIOLA, Le Pen made it into the second round rather than Jospin. So I presume there may be a high voter turnout this year for the first round. Also France has a percent turnout far higher than the USA. It will probably be in the 60-70% range. The front runners are M. Sarkozy, Mme Royal and M. Bayrou and I guess with about 12% of the vote, Le Pen is there again. Le Pen is far right. Here the communist party runs, the green party, the labor party… there is no 2 party system like the US. Segoline Royal is a socialist. The other difference is the time frame. From the time they announce that they are candidates until the election, I think it is 6 months. There is no advertising on TV or Radio. On the news, all candidates are given equal time to speak, so this last 10 days, each one was presented on the News channels. That is all. There are a few posted pasted here and there on telephone poles, and also news articles in the newspaper is one or the other candidates visits locally. I will say that people here keep their politics closer to themselves. They may make a comment of outrage against a candidate, but seldom pontificate on their own views and political stance. It is a private subject I guess. I will say from my naïve point of view, I think Segoline Royal (as the first woman to run here in France) is a bit naïve also. She wants to spend lots of money to fix everything, and lower taxes. Also she has stumbled somewhat in world affair questions…but who knows? The paper states that there is a 40% undecided population. That is huge. So anything can happen today, maybe Le Pen will make the second round again after all!! Stay tuned.