French Elections: Ticker

A few minutes to go to the official first results in the first round…

Unofficially, Ipsos puts Ségoléne Royal on 26.5 per cent, Nicolas Sarkozy 27.5 per cent, Jean-Marie Le Pen 17 per cent, and François Bayrou on 16 per cent, with OIivier Besancenot doing best out of the broom wagon candidates. CSA, which has been consistently more favourable to the Socialists, puts Ségo and Sarko level pegging on 26 per cent, and the same results for the others.

However, these figures are being constantly updated at the moment (see Le Temps de Généve). They currently put it this way:

  1. Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP): 29,4 %
  2. Ségolène Royal (PS): 26,2 %
  3. François Bayrou (UDF): 18,6 %
  4. Jean-Marie Le Pen (FN) : 10,8 %

There are also going to be exit polls soon enough. Everyone is clear on one thing, that turnout has been enormous: according to Radio France-Inter, the official figure is 85 per cent, although the unofficial data is going even higher.

Update

First official results (updated at 40% count)

  1. Sarkozy – 30.5 per cent
  2. Royal – 25.2
  3. Bayrou – 18.3
  4. Le Pen – 11.3
  5. Besancenot – 4.6
  6. De Villiers – 2.4
  7. Buffet – 2
  8. Laguillier – 1.5
  9. Voynet – 1.5
  10. Nihous – 1.2
  11. Bov̩ Р1
  12. Schivardi – 0.3

Crash for the far right…and not great for the Communists.

Update by Tobias – Sarkozy gave a conciliatory – or “presidential” – speech at his campaign headquarters, complimenting Mme Royal, thanking the French voters for a result that would allow the choice between, as he put it, two alternative sets of policies. He called for a dignified second leg of the campaign and hoped that it would amount to a true competition of ideas.

Update by Alex – Marie-Georges Buffet says all good communists must come to the aid of the party..the Socialist party. Pity there’s only 2 per cent of them.

Update by Alex – Arlette Laguillier says – for the first time since 1981 and the last time in her career – that her supporters should vote Socialist. De Villiers now ranting about “Européeisme(sic)” being a dead ideology responsible for abortion and euthanasia. Vote Sarko, he finally gets around to saying. Voynet goes Socialist, too, with the mighty weight of her 1.5 per cent. But what will Bayrou do?

Update by Alex – Olivier Besancenot calls on supporters to support the Socialists “at the ballot box and in the streets”. That should be enough to fill the gap… Also, DSK has been out calling for people who didn’t get their preferred candidate but want “renewal” to vote PS. Dominique de Villepin, meanwhile, congratulates Sarko through gritted teeth.

Update by Alex – Bayrou about to speak..whingeing about the pollsters..still blathering..and eventually says nothing..

Update by Alex – Le Pen says his supporters should abstain “for the moment” (eh?) but he will give further advice on the 1st of May. “Le Front National n’est pas a vendre!” But who would buy it?

RFI reports that 20 départements have completed counting, but the Ile-de-France (the populous metropolitan area around Paris) is still counting, with the large suburban départements like Seine-Saint Denis and Val-de-Marne still to come.

Update by Alex – Corréze, Chirac’s home turf, goes socialist by a distance, while the Communists crash badly in their old stronghold of Ariége.

Written on the subway walls

My comments on the French election posters, which appeared in bulk last weekend with the formal beginning of the campaign, after which strict equal-access rules apply…

The ruling principle is the difference between those who want to be elected, and those for which the style of candidacy is most important.

Those who want to be elected are keen on getting votes, by the silliest means. Those who don’t expect – or seriously want – to be elected are keen to be seen to be doing politics how they wish it was done. Hence Sarko, Bayrou, Royal, and Le Pen’s posters are all centred on the candidate’s face, which is meant to convey their virtues but also their context.

For example, Sarkozy’s face appears, well-lit, from a darkened landscape, above his name and nothing else. Subtext – I am a leader without party, come to relieve our darkness. Join! Francois Bayrou’s is not that dissimilar, which should not really be surprising given that he thinks he really is without party, and that his party used to be more rightwing than Sarko’s as recently as 1994.

Ségoléne Royal’s face is inevitably the centre of hers, but what is this? Grainy, monochrome photography, with a block red masthead and italic, bold white Helvetica type. It looks like a 1970s leftwing paper’s front page from some demonstration, presumably intended to lend some revolutionary romance to her image (and herald a last-minute tack to the base?). More importantly, it’s easily the best-designed and most recognisable of the lot, rivalled only by…

Le Pen’s, which shows the man himself on stage, looking astonishingly like Ian Paisley. Like the Man Standing in the Gap Left By God, Le Pen’s political career is founded on his stage performance. Makes sense, and is at least legible. His far-right rival, Philippe de Villiers of the MPF, is a borderline case. No-one thinks he will get a significant vote, but he probably thinks he will. Notable is the odd look in his eyes – his party is very much the UKIP to Le Pen’s BNP, appealing to Catholic farmers rather than secular townies, and like them, he could well be described as a swivel-eyed loon.

The others know they won’t be elected, and have their explanations ready – the election system is against them, the media is controlled by the armaments industry, France needs a more deliberative system. So they are free to design as if everyone in the country would stop to read every word. Olivier Besancenot, Arlette Laguillier, and the risible Schivardi stuff theirs with reams of text, illegible without making a point of visiting every poster – which is what they wish you would do, and they choose to imagine a society where everyone would. Voynet’s just look like they were left over from last time out.