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Long queues but fewer voters in France

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Published: Today 06.15

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Yannick Jadot, candidate of the French Green Party, votes in Paris. “Many companies and politicians live in denial. Climate is the great challenge of our time,” sighs at the TT reporter.

1 of 5Photo: Wiktor Nummelin / TT

The queues at French polling stations are long, even if the turnout at lunchtime is slightly lower than five years ago.

Emmanuel Macron in front of Marine Le Pen is the stable point in the number one round of the presidential elections.

By lunchtime, 25.48 percent of those entitled to vote had done their duty, according to official figures. This is about three percentage points lower than in 2017 and 2012, but at the same time just over four percentage points higher than in 2002, when the vote was the lowest so far.

Under the cold Paris spring sun, the lines are still long in several polling stations.

In a high school in the 10th arrondissement, Laure Altar and Solenne Virlogeux have just voted. For them, the environment is the most important electoral issue.

– Not just nationally, but globally, Laure thinks.

Green disappointment

French Green Party candidate Yannick Jadot is still not a firm favorite, although he’s trying to keep morale up.

– It is the French and the French who decide. This is the beauty of democracy. We’ll see tonight, she tells TT after voting at an elementary school in central Paris.

Jadot is only around 5-6 percent in opinion polls and sighs heavily at companies and politicians who “live in denial”.

– Climate is the great challenge of our time. They prefer to ignore it, rather than face it, she says.

And then he is forced to apologize for the polling station director leading him over the entire long queue.

– I’m sorry, I didn’t decide that, he apologizes.

Macron vs Le Pen?

There is much to suggest that the choice is still between incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and the far right Marine Le Pen.

In the north of Hénin-Beaumont, Le Pen graciously smiles at the voters from countless election posters.

“President of the navy – a state woman”, reads the text. And exactly that aspect is what was hammered out during the campaign.

Instead of being an ardent far-right leader who talks primarily about fighting crime, immigration and the EU, she is now portrayed as the one who truly cares about ordinary French people, high gasoline prices and the power of ‘purchase.

– If the people vote, the people win! urges voters in his latest campaign video.

Minnie Mouse 2002

The softer aspect of recent times has made Le Pen stand out in opinion polls, which place her only a few percentage points behind Macron ahead of today’s first round of elections.

Although there are many indications that the measurements are correct, the uncertainty is still great.

Peeling occurred in the past in the French elections. Especially 2002 shines through, when “everyone” expected a final between Jacques Chirac in office and the Social Democrat Lionel Jospin.

Before Election Day, Jospin was second, nearly five percentage points ahead in public opinion over the next man, but he lost everything and was overtaken by Marine Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie.

Left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon now hopes to be able to repeat that round in search of the two favorites.

Does the left decide?

Left-wing voters play a key role in the elections. If everyone ends up behind Mélenchon today, the 70-year-old anti-NATO veteran has a real chance of reaching the final round.

However, many Social Democrats and Greens see Mélenchon as too radical.

On the other hand, many of them are also very disappointed in Macron, accused of taking too many steps to the right during his years as president. This means that Macron is in danger of losing votes today, but especially also in two weeks in which the first two of the first round will actually compensate the presidency.

Although Macron is the favored opinion against everyone in the final round, Le Pen is not far behind, as more and more people now perceive it as more normal politics.

Whether this will be enough to make his president remains to be seen.

– I do not think so. In my opinion, it can only happen by mistake, if the voters stay home because they are convinced that Macron will win, says political scientist Jérôme Jaffré to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Correct: In an earlier version, there was an incorrect statement about the number of candidates in the election in the fact box.

Facts

Presidential elections in France

Twelve candidates are running for the French presidential elections this year. Here’s how much support they received in the latest poll from public opinion institute Ifop last Friday:

Emmanuel Macron (LREM center party): 26 percent

Marine Le Pen (Nationalist RN): 24

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Left Party FI): 17

Éric Zemmour (conquest of the far right movement): 9

Valérie Pécresse (conservative LR): 9

Yannick Jadot (EELV Green Party): 5

Fabien Roussel (Communist PCF): 2.5

Jean Lassalle (right-wing We Resist): 2.5

Anne Hidalgo (Social Democratic PS): 2

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (DLF far right): 1.5

Philippe Poutou (postcode far left): 1

Nathalie Arthaud (Trotskyist LO): 0.5

Source: Ifop, April 8.

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Facts

Presidential elections 2000s

Here’s how things went in the recent presidential elections in France:

2002: In the first round, far right Jean-Marie Le Pen climbs to second place with 16.9% of the vote, behind incumbent Conservative President Jacques Chirac at 19.9%. Social Democrat Lionel Jospin is only third with 16.2%. In the final round, both left and right end up behind Chirac who wins with 82 percent against Le Pen’s 18.

2007: Right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy gets 31.2% in the first round, against 25.9 for the Social Democrat Ségolène Royal. Third is the liberal François Bayrou at 18.6. Sarkozy then wins an even final round with 53 percent to Royal’s 47 percent.

2012: Social Democrat François Hollande gets 28.6% in the first round against 27.2 for seated Sarkozy. Third is Marine Le Pen at 17.9. The final was then won by Hollande with 52 per cent against Sarkozy’s 48.

2017: Center-right politician Emmanuel Macron gets 24% in the first round, where Marine Le Pen takes second place with 21.3%, just ahead of right-wing François Fillon at 20 and left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon at 19 , 6. Then Macron wins with a clear 66 percent against 34 in the final round against Le Pen.

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Published: April 10, 2022 at 06.15