Shock result of French presidential election

Robert Harley
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 18:33:13 +0200 (CEST)

Sagte Der Kragen:
>I'm a little bit puzzled about these protests.  What were you protesting?

Getting out there and saying loud and clear that we think Le Pen and his
policies are crap, and that it is a disgrace that he has gotten as far
as he has.

>Were you protesting against the 17% of your countrymen and women ([...])
>who voted for the guy?  If so, by protesting, are you hoping to
>persuade said countrymen that they should become more liberal in the
>future, persuade them to leave the country, or what?

Not against them, but certainly hoping to persuade many not to vote
for him again.  Interestingly, in pre-election polls only about 7% of
people actually said that they intended to vote for him, up to 8% in
the last few days, but the pollsters know that roughly half don't
"admit it" and correct for that.  This time around the pollsters
thought that they might be over-correcting, since recently Le Pen has
been watering down his message to become more acceptable... they were
wrong and he remains completely unacceptable to most people.

>Do you think the vote was somehow rigged, ballot boxes getting stuffed
>or dumped or something?

Certainly not.  Not the slightest hint of anything like that.

>Are you protesting against the voting system?  Do you want to switch
>to some variant of STV or approval voting for the president instead?

The voting system is certainly flawed but people don't seem to
consider it changeable.

It is amusing to watch everybody, from trade unions to the Catholic
church and Jewish groups calling on people to vote for Chirac.  Even
newspapers that normally fume and spit in his general direction are
backing him.  He's playing the Gaullist role to the hilt, saviour of
the nation and republican values and so on, and is going to force
through a union of moderate-right parties which have long been
divided.  To his credit he has always abhorred Le Pen and his FN party
and avoided doing deals with them, often leading to lost elections due
to "triangulars" where the FN took away enough votes from the moderate
right candidate to swing the result in favour of the left-wing

I'm afraid that many left-wing voters will abstain in the second round
because they can't bring themselves to vote for Chirac.  They would
prefer to choose between moderate left and right candidates of course,
but that's not the choice to be made, instead it is between moderate
and extremist.  Seem obvious, but still...  I'd like to convince them
to get out there and make sure Le Pen is not just beaten but soundly

(NB: I don't get to vote here.  I have been saying for years that even
if I could, I wouldn't, except in some situations to keep out the
extremists... like now.)

The legislative elections, coming up soon, will be interesting to
watch too.

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