French Presidential Elections Head to a Run-off

Via the BBC:  France election: Francois Hollande ‘wins first round’

French Socialist Francois Hollande has won most votes in the first round of the country’s presidential election, estimates show.

They suggest he got more than 28% of votes against about 26% for centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

The two men will face each other in a second round on 6 May.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen came third with about 19% of the vote, ahead of seven other candidates.

I would quibble with the BBC’s headline, as while in the numbers reported Hollande has the most votes, the only way to “win” the first round is to get 50%+1 of the vote.  As it stands all the matters is who the the top two vote-getters are.  Third place and onward are the losers, in the sense that they are done after today.

Turnout was over 80% according to the piece (how un-American of them!).



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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Turnout was over 80% according to the piece (how un-American of them!).

    Actually it is, since they have a compulsory voting law (although it is apparently not generally enforced).

  2. Nearly 20% for Le Pen?

    I see the undercurrents of European fascism are alive and well

  3. @Doug Mataconis:

    The extreme left groups did pretty well too, so it could be more a sign of a general disatisfaction with the establishment, rather than actually support for fascism.

  4. Bleev K says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That’s the bullcrap we hear after every european elections. Unfortunately, fascism = fascism.

  5. @Bleev K:

    If that’s they case, we have to conclude they support communism as well.

  6. Bleev K says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Of course.

  7. In fact, Marine is a pretty moderate compared to his father. She is the French version of Pat Buchanan.

  8. Murray says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I am sure a “fascistic” candidate would do quite well over here if we had the same system. Our extremists get washed out through the two party only + primary system.

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Actually, France’s mixed parliamentary/presidential electoral system (with run-off) encourages multiple parties to form, so there is much less tendency to move toward the center like there is under the US system (single-member simple plurality elections).

  10. Miguel Madeira says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think the only election in France with compulsory voting are the election for Senate (an election where the voters are the local officeholders or something similar, not the regular citizens)

  11. gVOR08 says:

    Paul Krugman made the point that Sarkozy has a clearly defined economic plan, while Hollande does not seem to. In Dr. K’s view that’s a reason to root strongly for Hollande, as Sarkozy’s plan is a very bad, more of the same, plan.