France’s 2012 Presidential Elections

France's 2012 Presidential ElectionsIf you find yourself in France on May 6, 2012, you will be in the midst of a historic event--- the 2012 French presidential elections.

The French president is elected every five years. On April 22nd, 2012 French voters took to the polls in the first of two presidential voting rounds. The candidates who received the most votes were Nicholas Sarkozy (the current president) and François Hollande. Sarkozy received approximately 27% percent of the vote and Hollande received approximately 28.5% of the vote. Sarkozy is the first sitting president to ever place second in the first round of voting. The May 6th run-off vote will determine who will become president of France.

Nicholas Sarkozy was elected in 2007, and replaced former president Jacques Chirac. Sarkozy is a member of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), a right-leaning political party. He is married to the French model and singer (and cultural icon), Carla Bruni.

François Hollande is a member of the left-leaning Parti Socialiste (socialist party). He rose to the top of the socialist party after the former leader, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was involved in a scandal in which he was accused of raping a maid in a New York hotel (the charges have since been dropped).

Supporters of Sarkozy doubt that Hollande, who has never held a ministerial position (top governmental position), has the qualifications to be the president of France. Supporters of Hollande are tired of Sarkozy’s “flashy” ways and policies that have compromised the quality of life for many middle to low income French people.

Given this dynamic, the May 6th, election proves to be very interesting indeed. If you’re lucky enough to be in France during that time, you’ll be even closer to the political action.

Vive la République!

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