Hollande wins round one, to face Sarkozy

2012-04-22 20:31

kalahari.com

Paris - Socialist challenger Francois Hollande won the first round of the French presidential vote on Sunday, setting himself up for a May 6 run-off with right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

Estimates of the result broadcast as polls closed gave Hollande between 28.4 and 29.3%, Sarkozy between 25.5 and 27% and the far-right's Marine Le Pen between 18.2 and 20%, confirming earlier leaks.

But the surprise package was the far-right anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen - her National Front party's best showing which complicated forecasts for the second round.

Sarkozy is the only incumbent French president to lose a first round-vote in modern French history and opponents of all stripes queued up to pronounce his political obituary in live broadcasts and speeches to supporters.

"The exceptional score of Francois Hollande brings hope for change," said senior Socialist campaign official Manuel Valls, branding Sarkozy's second place finish a "massive rejection".

Marine Le Pen's father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, refused to say who he would vote for in the second round now that his daughter has been eliminated, but added: "I think Sarkozy is finished".

Sarkozy's camp put a brave face on the defeat, insisting that with the votes of the Le Pen camp and that of centrist Francois Bayrou the right had not had a bad night and that Sarkozy would bounce back before May 6.

"The message from the French, which we heard loud and clear, was that this was a vote in a time of crisis," said Jean-Francois Cope, leader of Sarkozy's right-wing UMP and a possible future presidential candidate.

"From tomorrow morning, we will no longer be in a case of nine candidates against Nicolas Sarkozy, but we will be one-to-one, Nicolas Sarkozy against Francois Hollande... then I think the match will be different," he said.

Turnout 80%

Far left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon was beaten into fourth place with around 11.7%, a disappointment for his supporters after a barnstorming campaign, and called on the left to unite to oust Sarkozy.

Turnout was high at at least 80%: down on the 84% turnout of 2007 but up significantly on the 72% of 2002 and belying fears that a low-key campaign would be capped by mass abstention.

The left has not won a presidential election in a quarter of a century, but with France mired in low growth and rising joblessness, opinion polls had long predicted that the left would beat the right-wing incumbent.

Hollande says Sarkozy has trapped France in a downward spiral of austerity and job losses, while Sarkozy says his rival is inexperienced and weak-willed and would spark financial panic through reckless spending pledges.

The eurozone debt crisis and France's sluggish growth and high unemployment have hung over the campaign, with Sarkozy struggling to defend his record and Hollande unable to credibly promise spending increases.

"I have never missed a vote, but this time I feel little enthusiasm for the election," said 62-year-old retired high school teacher Isabelle Provost as she emerged into bright Paris sunshine after casting her ballot.

"Economically there is little difference between the two main candidates," she said, echoing the sentiment of many others of the right and the left.

Opinion polls and campaigning were banned from midnight on Friday, and will now resume on Monday in the build-up to the May 6 run-off, which Hollande has hitherto been predicted to win by around 55% to 45.

Sarkozy and Hollande face a two-week scramble for the line, including a head-to-head televised debate that could be the incumbent's last chance to change his fortunes.

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  marine le pen  |  france  |  france elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may feel like you are treading water and going nowhere fast. You may want to get off the merry go round. By pushing yourself...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.