French presidential election: voters prepare to shrink numbers

Will France re-elect Sarkozy?

©2012 Chappatte, distributed by Globe Cartoon. More cartoons on Chappatte’s web site. Geneva-based Patrick Chappatte works for the International Herald Tribune, for Geneva newspaper Le Temps, and for NZZ am Sonntag. All cartoons reproduced with permission.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The French go to the polls Sunday 22 April in a first round of voting for president, with a daunting 10 candidates vying for the job.

Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was lagging slightly behind Socialist Francois Hollande in last week’s polls but the two have been running a close race in recent days, each hovering around 26-29 percent, with right-wing Marie Le Pen and left-wing Jean’Luc Mélenchon each having 16-17 percent, depending on the poll (Wikipedia, polls).

Since none appear able to garner the 50 percent necessary to win, the likely scenario now appears to be a Sarkozy-Hollande runoff, with three days of frenzied campaigning left.

Le Monde 19 April has published a guide to where the 10 candidates stand on key issues (French). Voice of America provides a straightforward summary of the election in English.