Econintersect: Socialist Francois Hollande (pictured left) edged Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured right), incumbent president of France, for first place in the French national election on Sunday. Because no one received 50% of the vote Sunday’s election, in which more than 80% of the nation’s voters turned out, this amounted to the first round of the election with the top two facing off against each other on May 6. After 75% of the votes were counted, CNN reported that Hollande received 27.9% of the vote, Sarkozy 26.7% and third place went to the right wing candidate Marine Le Pen with 19.3%. Left wing candidate Jean-Luc Melanchon garnered 10.8% and 9.8% went to Francois Bayrou, a centrist. The other five candidates in total accounted for the remaining 4.5% of the vote.
Exit polls had indicated that Hollande would receive about 28.4%, Sarkozy 25.5% and Le Pen 20%, close to the results for the votes counted so far.
The results do not bode well for the center right Sarkozy against the center left Hollande in the May 6 election. From CNN:
The results appeared to be historic, and a bad sign for Sarkozy. Several high-profile Hollande supporters told CNN that a French president running for re-election has never not placed first in the first round of the vote.
And from the Financial Times:
An Ipsos poll on Sunday night showed Mr Hollande’s lead over Mr Sarkozy for the second round narrowing to eight points from 12 points on Friday. The poll suggested that almost all those who voted for Mr Mélenchon would shift their support to Mr Hollande in the second round.
A handful of Le Pen supporters would do likewise, while 60 per cent said they would back Mr Sarkozy. More than a fifth of her backers – a potentially critical swing vote sector worth about 4 percentage points in the run-off – told the pollsters they had yet to decide whom to back.
The Financial Times also points out that the 9.1% vote for Francois Bayrou could make that centrist a “king maker” on May 6.
- Hollande steals poll march on Sarkozy (Tom Burgis, Hugh Carnegy and James Boxell, Financial Times, 22 April 2012)
- Hollande claims victory, setting up runoff with Sarkozy for French presidency (CNN, 22 April 2012)
- Hollande-Sarkozy: French presidential election headed for runoff (Dylan Stableford, The Envoy via Yahoo News, 22 April 2012)