Sarkozy vs. Hollande: Voting begins in France (JERUSALEM POST) By JOSEPH STRICH, JPOST.COM STAFF 04/22/12)
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PARIS – Voting kicked off Sunday in France´s Presidential race.
President Nicolas Sarkozy needs to beat his principal challenger,
Socialist Party candidate François Hollande, by several percent in
Sunday’s first round election if he wants to win the final and
decisive round on May 6, opinion poll specialists say.
A member of Sarkozy’s campaign team has calculated that for him to
have a chance to win reelection, it is essential that Sunday’s
combined total vote for Hollande and Left Front candidate Jean-Luc
Mélenchon not be above 45 percent, and for the right-wing bloc to
beat the left-wing parties by 2 or 3 points. Most of Mélenchon’s
supporters are expected to vote for Hollande in the two-man runoff on
“Hollande – Sarkozy: The battle for the first place” was a headline
in the newspaper Le Figaro, along with: “The curtain has fallen on
the first act.”
The first part of the campaign finished on Friday at midnight. From
that time, the law imposes a reporting embargo on opinion polls and
the media, who are required to maintain a blackout on news until the
last polling station closes on Sunday night at 8 p.m. Most polling
stations which are in public schools will close between 6 and 7.
Pollsters have “signed an agreement not to communicate with foreign
media who want to violate the French law,” Marie Eve Aubin, president
of the Opinion Polls Commission, told the press, for example RTBF
Belgium French-language television, which intends to do so by
releasing poll numbers via the Internet.
The commission has established a surveillance unit to scan the Web
and the social networks, and the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel
has set up a similar team. The fine for any offense: 75,000 euros for
an individual and 375,000 euros for an organization. And a tweet that
snowballs? If some one retweets it, it amounts to two offenses.
On Saturday, a final opinion poll carried out for Le Monde, Radio
France and French television gave Hollande the victory in the first
round at 29%, followed by Sarkozy with 25.5%, Marine Le Pen from the
National Front with 16%, Mélenchon with 14% and Centrist candidate
François Bayrou with 10%. The five other candidates split the
remaining 5.5%, with more going to the left-wingers among them.
Other polls put Sarkozy and Hollande nose to nose, some even had
Sarkozy ahead, but all predicted he would lose in the second poll by
44% to 56%.
Franck Louvrier, Sarkozy’s spin doctor (communication adviser), said
hopefully that “the polls are contradictory, a lot of voters will
decide at the last minute.”
Sarkozy wrote a 36-page letter to the French people before calling
for their help during a rally at the Place de la Concorde in Paris on
April 15, trying to motivate the third of them telling pollsters they
would abstain or didn’t know who they’d vote for.
“Everyone come vote on Sunday, because the forces assembled against
us are vast,” he told some 10,000 supporters in Nice on Friday,
including Bernadette Chirac, the wife of the former president, and
the singer Enrico Macias.
“Alea iacta est,” the die has been cast, concludes Le Figaro. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/22/12)
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