An American observer comments on French politics.
While I don't think a "reverse April 21" is likely, I can't discount the possibility that the 2nd round could take place without Sarkozy. I can imagine the vote being split about equally between Sarkozy, le Pen, and Bayrou. Only one of them will make it to the second round and if in the last 2-3 weeks we're within the margin of error, this is a risk for Sarkozy.Arun believes that the right will be so worried about the odds that it won't risk voting for someone else than Sarkozy. I'm not so sure. Sarkozy has alienated the "gaullistes" with his far-right rhetorics. If more of them call for Bayrou rather than Sarkozy it may spell trouble. Right now, things are okay, but not good. We'll see next week once he's been forced to say he's running.One reason why Sarkozy has been pushing to the right in his speeches might be because he expects Le Pen to fail in her quest for 500 endorsements; hence there'd only be two candidates on the right, himself, "solidly" on the right, and Bayrou, "right of center, center right" (which he'll portray as wishy-washy, basically on the left).However if Le Pen can"t run, there'll be hell to pay from a democratic point of view, I'd think.Has the law on polling been changed, so that polling results could be given on election day?
There will indeed be hell to pay if le Pen is kept off the ballot. One poll has already shown that the French, including those who do not support MLP, abhor any attempt to deny voters the right to vote for her.
I find Arun's analysis of 2002 very thoughtful and lucid. Another point to consider, in arguing that the political dynamic of the final days of the election was taking place largely unknown to the left electorate, is that French campaign law requires all campaigning to end on the Friday before the election. So that most of what American campaigns do to turn out voters (which has become much more effective in the past two decades) does not take place in France.Thus, even if Jospins campaign knew in the final 48 hours that they might be eclipsed by LePen -- and reporting suggests they did -- there was very little they could have done to avert it. Neither tactically (communicating directly to voters identified as Jospin leaners who might have been breaking towards Taubira or Chevenement) nor organizationally (focusing effort on turning out PS voters in Paris, where there was a drop-off in participation, partially attributable to the coincidence of election day with the start of the spring vacation for Paris schools).
@Gregory Brown: I have responded to your comment on my blog.Arun
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