May 20, 2013
Presidential electionsSunday, April 22, 2012
Ten contenders for French votes
PARIS — The 10 contenders in the French election's first round today include an anti-capitalist Ford worker, a candidate who wants to colonize Mars and one who wears round green glasses, her party's color.
With the media regulator ruling that all candidates get equal exposure, the French electorate has been able to hear out candidates on the fringes of the election. Five such candidates may collectively get about 5 percent of the votes, polls show.
Three other so-called second-tier candidates have about 40 percent of the vote and their supporters' backing will determine whether President Nicolas Sarkozy or Socialist challenger François Hollande, the two leading contenders, wins the decisive round on May 6. Hollande has consistently led in the polls for the second and final round of the election.
"While voters for the five leftist candidates in the first round will massively vote for Hollande in the second round, that's not the case with the right and Sarkozy," Jean-François Doridot, director general of pollster Ipsos, in a note accompanying an April 9 poll where they see Hollande leading Sarkozy 55-45 in the second round. "That's what for the moment makes a Sarkozy victory in the second round difficult."
Sarkozy and Hollande may each get about 28 percent in the first round, polls show. Surveys give anti-immigrant and anti-euro campaigner Marine Le Pen 16 percent, Communist Party-backed anti-free market former Socialist minister Jean-Luc Melenchon 14 percent and self-styled centrist François Bayrou 10 percent.
From the evening of today’s first round, Hollande and Sarkozy are likely to court these candidates and their supporters for votes.
Under the French system, anyone who can collect 500 signatures of elected officials can run for president. Former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was among presidential hopefuls who failed to get the required signatures.
After Sarkozy and Hollande and the three second-tier candidates come ecologist Eva Joly with her trademark green glasses, "Gaullist" Nicolas Dupont-Aignon, communist Nathalie Arthaud, anti-capitalist Philippe Poutou, and Jacques Cheminade, who is close to Lyndon LaRouche's US movement and wants France to have a project to conquer space and colonize planets.
The poll scores of these candidates haven't grown even after the official campaign began April 9, forcing television stations and billboards to give equal time and space to all.
With the backing of about 17 percent of the electorate in the polls, Communist-backed, anti-markets, anti-Capitalist parties in France represent the biggest such support among Group of Seven countries.
Small parties have played a large role in past elections. A combined 24 percent score for two Trotskyists, one Communist, an ecologist and a Socialist Party dissident resulted in Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, the Socialist Party's candidate, finishing third behind Marine Le Pen's father Jean-Marie in 2002, failing to make the second round against eventual winner Jacques Chirac.