France election: Hollande takes lead into second round

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says a "crucial time has now come" for the people of France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces an uphill struggle in the second round of the presidential election, after coming second in Sunday's first vote.

He won 27.1% of the vote, while his Socialist rival Francois Hollande took 28.6%, the first time a sitting president has lost in the first round.

The two men will face each other in a second round of voting on 6 May.

Third-place Marine Le Pen took the largest share of the vote her far-right National Front has ever won, with 18%.

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris says Mr Hollande's narrow victory in this round gives him crucial momentum ahead of the run-off in two weeks' time.

Analysts suggest Mr Sarkozy, leader of the ruling centre-right UMP, will now need to woo the far-right voters who backed Ms Le Pen if he is to hold on to the presidency. But Mr Hollande remains the front runner.

Mr Sarkozy began reaching out to Ms Le Pen's voters on Monday, saying "there was this crisis vote that doubled from one election to another - an answer must be given to this crisis vote".

Around one in five people voted for the National Front candidate, including many young and working class voters, putting her ahead of seven other candidates.

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Whereas Francois Hollande can tack to the centre, President Sarkozy must appeal to the right”

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How many debates?

The election has been dominated by economic issues, with voters concerned with sluggish growth and rising unemployment.

Ms Le Pen, who campaigned on a nationalist, anti-immigration platform, said she would wait until May Day next week to give her view on the second round.

She told jubilant supporters that the result was "only the start" and that the party was now "the only opposition" to the Left.

Opinion polls taken after voting on Sunday suggested that between 48 and 60% of Le Pen voters would switch to backing Mr Sarkozy in the second round.

But pollsters also predict a large abstention rate in the second round.

The BBC's Europe editor Gavin Hewitt says the result revealed a dissatisfaction and restlessness in France, creating political volatility. The elites are despised, the economic future is feared and there is insecurity, he says.

First round results of the French presidential elections

Nearly a fifth of voters backed a party - the National Front - that wants to ditch the euro and return to the franc.

But polls suggest Mr Hollande will comfortably win the second round.

As the results came in, he said he was "best placed to become the next president of the republic" and that Mr Sarkozy had been punished by voters.

"The choice is simple, either continue policies that have failed with a divisive incumbent candidate or raise France up again with a new, unifying president," Mr Hollande said.

It is the first time a French president running for re-election has failed to win the first round since the start of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Mr Sarkozy - in power since 2007 - said he understood "the anguish felt by the French" in a "fast-moving world".

He called for three debates during the two weeks to the second round - centring on the economy, social issues, and international relations.

Mr Hollande promptly rejected the idea. He told reporters that the traditional single debate ahead of the second round was sufficient, and that it should "last as long as necessary".

Far-right shock

Analysis

There is one clear favourite - Hollande. He has a big pool of votes on his left, and he's guaranteed to get them, more or less.

On the right there isn't the same automaticity with Le Pen voters backing Sarkozy.

Marine Le Pen has solid support, she has pulled off a major coup - 6.3 million voters chose her.

She has a clear interest in Sarkozy losing. She wants his party to implode and her party to then pick up some right-wingers from his party and become the main opposition to the Left.

Turnout on Sunday was high, at more than 80%.

Ms Le Pen achieved more than the breakthrough score polled in 2002 by her father and predecessor, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who got through to the second round with more than 16%.

Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who was backed by the Communist Party, came fourth with almost 12%.

He urged his supporters unconditionally to rally behind Mr Hollande in the run-off.

Centrist Francois Bayrou, who was hoping to repeat his high 2007 score of 18%, garnered only about 9%.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Paris says that if Mr Sarkozy cannot change the minds of a substantial number of people, he will become the first sitting president to lose an election since 1981.

Wages, pensions, taxation, and unemployment have been topping the list of voters' concerns.

President Sarkozy has promised to reduce France's large budget deficit and to tax people who leave the country for tax reasons.

Francois Hollande vows to be a "candidate for all" who want change in France

Mr Hollande has strongly criticised Mr Sarkozy's economic record.

The Socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year.

He also wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers.

If elected, Mr Hollande would be France's first left-wing president since Francois Mitterrand, who completed two seven-year terms between 1981 and 1995.

 

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Hollande in power

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  • Comment number 375.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 374.

    370.A Fishcold Panda

    362.U14761436
    So many voting for the far right, I wonder why?
    //////
    I blame dumbing down of society.
    ******


    Had people not watched them reality shows they'd have stuck to illusions and vote en mass for Communists.

    PROLETARIES OF THE WHOLE WORLD - UNITE!!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 373.

    .
    370. A Fishcold Panda

    362.U14761436 So many voting for the far right, I wonder why? /

    /////I blame dumbing down of society. Peopledon'thavea realinteestin politics in anymore, it's all just like a reality TV: most viewers can't sing a note themselves but judge over people who can.

    ___

    So, the far-right voters in France are all influenced by X-factor???

    You're not making any sense!


    .

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 372.

    France is a difficult country to govern if you're a right wing president, mainly because the unions there are so powerful. So it's important to view Sarkozy's record in light of this.

    Whilst I have little faith in Hollande, it does look as if global politics is now shifting towards the left. Cameron, Merkel and Harper are now facing opposition from Obama, Hollande and Gillard.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 371.

    365.thelostdot - ".......Migration should be hugely reduced but not entirely stopped. Migration is a symptom of corruption...."

    Migration is a symptom of globalisation - do away with it & we'll do away with the +ves of of globalisation (our cheap tellies & holidays etc).

    Less migration has downsides too, the question being do the benfits outweigh the problems....& most folk will say yes...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 370.

    362.U14761436
    So many voting for the far right, I wonder why?
    //////
    I blame dumbing down of society. People don't have a real inteest in politics in anymore, it's all just like a reality TV: most viewers can't sing a note themselves but judge over people who can.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 369.

    Sarkozy needs to be careful about publicly calling for the support of far right voters. Although 18% of people voted for the national front, he needs to remember that 82% of people didn't. If he is seen as placing to much emphasis on support from far right supporters, he may end up alienating centrist minded swing voters who want nothing to do with racist and isolationist politics.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 368.

    "But that does not justify the belittling of the sacrifices the USSR made in the defeat of Nazism."


    A small correction if I may...

    Not USSR. But millions Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Kazakhs, Poles, Tatars, Turkmens, Uzbeks, etc. forcibly drafted into the Red Army (whether they liked it or not) and used by Stalin mostly as cannon fodder.

    And shot when they refused to attack.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 367.

    And what a great turn out!

    In contrast to the UK where most are more interested in soap operas and programmes about oiks from Essex.

    I despise people who complain about Government when most never even bother to vote.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 366.

    .

    11. A Fishcold Panda 6 HOURS AGO 6.Peter Barry The Breivik trial and Le Pen's "success" signals the need for Western politicians to listen and stop hiding behind unworkable ideology. ///

    Sounds more like they should crack down on right-wing terrorism and the nest where it is bred.




    Are these right-wing terrorists responsible for 7/7, 911, Beslan etc, etc?


    .

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 365.

    Sarkosy is awful, I've read a huge amount over the years by the way (not just about Sarkozy). He like most politicians supports gred and corruption. Focusing on migration is probably harmful since it means you ignore that corruption, an dso don't deal with the REAL problem. Migration should be hugely reduced but not entirely stopped. Migration is a symptom of corruption. Not a cause.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 364.

    //A Fishcold Panda
    The Breivik trial and Le Pen's "success" signals the need for Western politicians to listen and stop hiding behind unworkable ideology.
    //////
    Sounds more like they should crack down on right-wing terrorism and the nest where it is bred.//

    no one 'understands' Breivik, whereas plenty of 'liberals' 'understand' rioters and muslim terrorists.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 363.

    All i know is immigration is destroying both French and English cultures..

    I'm not against it just against the amount of it taking place. When we start changing road signs to polish and printing benefit forms in multiple languages someting has gone wrong. I i went to live in another country i would expect nothing and learn the language and be part of the culture.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 362.

    .

    So many voting for the far right, I wonder why?


    .

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 361.

    PM: "Read on the scope of mass homicides of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim..."


    Some clearly upset that sb dared to remind them of those Socialist regimes' atrocities which devoured many dozens of millions.

    P.S. Eddy re British oil shales.

    Merkel's Germany can still pay France a plenty for importing electricity generated by its atomic power plants.

    Or even more to gen. Putin for his gas :)

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 360.

    //thelostdot
    2 Minutes ago
    Migrants are greedy grabbers,..Is not moving the same country or the same house by the way? Where do you stop?//

    Immigration is unnecessary for the countries it is inflicted on. That is the reality for France, and other countries. France's election result reflect widespread concern about the issue. Deal with the reality, not rhetorical questions.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 359.

    @353.MOTBO
    One man's freedom fighter is the next man's terrorist... which is why we have so many authoritarian rules now in this country - if there genuinely ever was any terrorists working against us (there is evidence to te contrary) then they must be laughing, since terrorism is supposed to generate terror and provoke reaction - I'd say the clampdown suggests they succeeded in their goal!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 358.

    As of 2008, INSEE estimated that 5.3 million foreign-born immigrants and 6.5 million direct descendants of immigrants (2nd gen. born in France with at least 1 immigrant parent) lived in France. Which represents a total of 11.8 million and 19% of the country's population. source: http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/document.asp?reg_id=0&ref_id=ip1287

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 357.

    353 MOTBO - Who cares? No one!

    Yet again a HYS thread proves that people in cloud cuckoo land (pinkos to a man) can connect to the internet! This thread is supposed to be about Sarko, yet we've had WW2, racism, class war rammed down our throats ad nauseam by people whose grasp of these subjects is as tenuous as their grasp of time travel.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 356.

    Migrants are greedy grabbers, most of us are very little different, and wouldn't refuse a better life. Governments are the ones that create a bad society. Witch hunting migrants will solve nothing. The idea of never moving anywhere but where your born is ridiculous. Is not moving the same country or the same house by the way? Where do you stop?

 

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