Sarkozy to Face Royal in Second Round

Results of first-round French elections

It appears as though Nikolas Sarkozy will face Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal in the second round run-off of the French elections:

PARIS – Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal appeared headed Sunday to a presidential runoff, according to preliminary results and pollsters’ projections, setting up a stark choice between one of France’s most intensely ambitious politicians and a liberal who would be the country’s first female leader.

Four polling agencies put Sarkozy ahead of Royal, and both of them in the May 6 runoff, eliminating the 10 other first-round candidates. A preliminary result from the Interior Ministry, based on a count of 12.5 million votes, had Sarkozy leading with 30 percent, followed by Royal with 24 percent.

Turnout was over 80 percent, the polling agencies said, nearing the record of 84.8 percent set for a first round in 1965. The intense interest testified to the high stakes for France and the personalities — inspiring for some, divisive for others — involved in an election that was wrapped in surprises and suspense.

Sarkozy won 29-30 percent and Royal 25-26 percent of the vote, leaving competitors far behind, according to the projections.

If the results confirm that, France will get its first president born after World War II after the May 6 final round. If she wins, Royal will become France’s first woman president.

Lower tier candidates are already throwing their support to Sarkozy or Royal with Marie-George Buffet (1.9%), Green candidate Dominique Voynet (1.5%), Arlette Laguiller (1.5%), Olivier Besancenot (4.4%) and others calling for their supporters to vote for Royal in the second round, Philippe de Villiers (2.5%) and others throwing their support to Sarkozy.

At this point it’s unknown which way the supporters of centrist candidate François Bayrou will turn. Many of Le Pen’s supporters will turn to Sarkozy and Bayrou’s 18.5% may well determine the outcome of the election.

Are these voters “anything but Sarkozy or Royal”? If so, they may sit out the second round election.

BTW, when you read a characterization of a French candidate as “far right wing” or “center right” or “left”, don’t make the mistake of thinking that is the same as the American equivalents of these positions. Such terms are impossible to translate accurately across national boundaries. “Center right” in French politics is probably roughly “left” or “center left” in American terms.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Although Le Pen would be considered “far right” even in the US context.

    However, it is accurate to state that the mainstream of French politics is clearly more socialistic (and therefore leftist) than the US.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I find him sort of analogous to, say, Pat Buchanan. I wouldn’t say that their views were exactly similar but I do think that they sound similar themes.

  3. John Burgess says:

    Dave: Buchanan with a touch of David Duke, maybe.

  4. Anderson says:

    The Economist says to root against the Socialist, so I’m assuming I should root for her until shown otherwise.

  5. carpeicthus says:

    I don’t know much about Royal, but Sarkozy has done some frighteningly stupid things even from his previous perch. It’s not directly analogous to American politics — I’ve seen some of his stupid acts (cracking down on street photography, for one) ascribed to “those crazy liberal French.” Of course, most would say the same about Le Pen, just because we like our metanarratives.

  6. graywolf says:

    Heard a great quote last week on the Dennis Miller show:

    Even though Sarkozy is pro-American (or less anti-American than Chirac), we should be for Royal because “she wants to destroy France …and so do we.”