In the almost unexpectedly high voter turnout in the premier tour of the French Presidential
Election, Francois Hollande, the Socialiste candidate got approximately 29% of the vote to
Nicolas Sarkozy's 25%, making Hollande the winner. This was more significant for 81%
voter turn out. In other words it was the best participation number in the History of the Fifth Republic.
Previously, the record was in Mitterands election in 1981, the last time a Socialiste was elected president of France. Even more significant, it was the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a standing president had been defeated in the premier tour of the election. For the record, there were 9 other candidates on the ballot. The far right Front National candidate, Marine LePen came in third with around 18%. The more extreme left, Front de la Gauche candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon came in 4th with around 12%. All of the leftist candidates as well as LePen, father and daughter said that the most important thing for France was the ouster of Sarkozy. So on May 6th, the decisive 2nd Tour of the election will take place. Hollande against Sarkozy. The immediate polling only minutes ago put the projected results in Hollandes favor: 54% to 46%. There will be at least one real debate in the next week. Hollande may seem low key, but he is a very witty, intelligent and deadly debater. It is a matter of personal style. While Sarkozy is trying to hide his 55,000 Euro watches when he is shaking hands, Hollandes aides are trying to dissuade him from riding his motor scooter on the streets of Paris. Sarkozy is Nueilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest communities in Parisand very right wing conservative and Francois is from Tulle, a country town in the Correze, traditionally left wing, the heart of the resistance in WW2 and of course, the accordion capitol of France. The video is Hollandes speech acknowledging his victory this evening in Tulle. The modest unassuming speech was extremely well received.
I have tried to translate some of it for you:
'the French have mobilized massively in this presidential election, with an unusual participation: 80%. Several major events are reported. The first is that I am leading the first round. I want to thank the voters who put me in this position that I am honored and obliged. It is an act of confidence in the project that I presented to the French '.
'The second major event, no question is that the first lap represents the penalty of five years that have ended and your disavowal of the incumbent. Never had the National Front reached such a level in an election, even in 2002 where they qualified for the second round. This is a new signal called a jump in the Republic and an understanding not just of anger but of how our country works when it has lost its pride and what needs to be raised and where it is sometimes diminished '.
'Tonight I'm going by the French vote the candidate of all those forces who want to turn a page and opening another. I thank the youth, who must be given their rightful place '.
'After this first round, I am the candidate's rally for change, which must be as wide as possible. I greet the candidates of the first round, Jean-Luc Melenchon and Eva Joly. They called clearly and without negotiation to support me for the second round. '
'Thanks to you, tonight, change is now on and nothing will stop it. It depends of the French people, and the choice is simple: continue a failed policy with one that has divided us, or go to the recovery of France in justice with a candidate who reassembles it. This May 6, I want a victory , a great victory, at the height of France, its history and its future. '