The French are still making up their mind [Update – they have made up their mind: Nicolas Sarkozy has been elected President – more soon]. Once again in record numbers – the only official figures released so far estimate the voter turnout at noon at 34,11%, the highest number since 1974, apparently. One winner of the Presidential race is therefore clearly institutional democracy – although burning cars is probably considered a way of political expression by some, not least, SÃ©golÃ¨ne Royal, who, earlier this week, warned that a Sarkozy victory could lead to violent protests in some Banlieues. While that is certainly not entirely out of the realm of the possible, and Sarkozy’s reaction was appropriately forceful, accusing her of fanning the (possible) flames, I doubt it was a particularly clever move on Royal’s behalf, to end her campaign by scaring voters. Apart from that, she’s probably also lost all votes of those about 3000 policemen who are now spending the evening in the suburbs to preempt any possible social unrest.
Maybe the statement followed the realisation that only extraordinary statements could still move the amount of voters she likely needs to win tonight. The latest polls, after all, put her at 46%, and Sarkozy at 52%. In Die Zeit’s Blog Tricolore (in German) Alain-Xavier Wurst attempts some kind of pre-result-post-campaign analysis – explaining that he believes that, in the end, it was not Royal but instead Sarkozy who managed to give the majority of French voters hope (“Sarkozy somehow talks to the American inside everyone, even every Frenchman”), while Royal was a candidate ahead of her time – being a woman, and moreover, approaching the electorate with something intangible like democracy 2.0: more participation and institutional changes that, Wurst believes, France just wasn’t ready for.
In two and a half hours we will know more. The online tv streams I mentioned with respect to the Presidential debate on Wednesday will broadcast online again. So, while you’re waiting, apart from the usual suspects, here are a couple of online resources you might want to check for both election result blogging (once there are any results) as well as some more context.
France24 (French and English) as well as arte.tv (in German and French) will also provide interactive features. In German, there is, of course Alain-Xavier Wurst blogging for Die Zeit from Royal’s campaign headquarter, and there is the “Frankreich-BLog”, a commercial blog run by a German school-book publishing house. In English, you may want to check frenchelection.info/, the French Election 2007 blog, or, of course, the European Tribune. If you read French, you may want to head over to our Emmanuel or Versac and let their blogs and blogrolls be your guide to the plethora of French blogged commentary.