Elections in France
France, April 22, 2012
For the current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a weak economy and lack of jobs could be the cause of his defeat.
The French people go to the polls for the first round of presidential elections today.
If Sarkozy loses this election will become the first president to lose a fight for re-election in more than 30 years.
The result of today’s poll puts candidates competing in the second round, to be held on May 6, the conservative Sarkozy and Socialist François Hollande.
Hollande, 57, promises spending cuts less shocking than Sarkozy and wants higher taxes on the rich to finance state aid for job creation.
Sarkozy defended his record on the campaign trail, repeatedly said the difficult economic climate and debt problems in Europe.
Also it is expected surprises among the candidates, the extreme nationalist right Marine Le Pen, the communist agitator supported by Jean-Luc Melenchon or the centrist Francois Bayrou.
While they are not expecting to win, a good performance in one or all of them could cast a shadow on the second round.
Meanwhile, the vote was launched yesterday in the French embassies and foreign holdings, beginning in the small St. Pierre and Miquelon, islands south of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic.
The campaigns and the publication of survey data have been suspended until the results of the first round will give tonight.