President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Francois Hollande have unofficially progressed into the final round of France’s election.
Sarkozy’s hopes rest on a victory from Marine Le Pen’s anti-euro National Front. Although the official count has yet to be made, the Wall Street Journal claims that Sarkozy captured between 25 and 26% of the vote, while Hollande took in 27 to 29%.
Because neither of the candidates gained more than half of the vote, they will both head to a runoff election on May 6th.
Antonio Barroso, a political analyst at Eurasia Group in London, believes that Sarkozy will have a tough fight ahead of him. He said that Sarkozy is:
“Going to have to hunt right-wing voters…that’s a bad dynamic for the second round when you normally want to capture the center and unite the country.”
La Pen was a surprisingly strong third party in Sunday’s election for President of France. She received about 20% of the vote, which is the strongest support her party has ever received at the polls (and double the amount her father Jean-Marie Le Pen received in 2007).
Former Socialist Culture Minister Jack Long called for restraint at the Socialist Party Headquarters, where a crowd of Hollande supporters waited for election results to be announced. He told the crowd:
“We must not consider that it’s already won. The battle will be difficult. It’s when you believe it’s in the bag that you end up losing.”
The fourth candidate that will be present in the May 6th election is left-wing supporter Jean-Luc Mélenchon. At least half Jean-Luc’s supporters are expected to support Sarkozy.
Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank in London said:
“The first round may offer a glimmer of hope for Sarkozy…but it also entails a risk that he could pander to right-wing sentiment on European issues in the next two weeks. Stronger calls for a ‘growth mandate for the ECB’ and the like may not go down well in Berlin and Frankfurt.”
Check out video of the voting here: