France: Race to Presidency Begins!
VOTERS sent Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal into the run-off for the French presidency yesterday, confounding the hopes of their centrist and far-Right challengers in the most closely contested campaign for decades, says The Australian.
“Mr Sarkozy, 52, who is promising radical reform to haul France out of stagnation, led with 31.11 per cent of the votes and Ms Royal, 53, whose unorthodox campaign unsettled many on the Left, won 25.84 per cent, initial results showed.
“A record turnout of about 85 per cent reflected the intense interest in a campaign that will see a new, reform-minded generation taking power, five years after President Chiracâ€™s bitter re-election against Jean-Marie Le Pen of the far-Right.
“Despite an unusually high 30 per cent of undecided voters in the past week, the run-off on May 6 has turned out to be a classical Right-Left duel between champions of Franceâ€™s two big parties, the Union for a Popular Movement, which Mr Sarkozy took over from President Chirac, and the Socialist party, which last held the presidency under the late FranÃ§ois Mitterrand.
“The winner will succeed President Chirac, who leaves the ElysÃ©e Palace in Mid-May after 12 years in office.” More here…
While The Independent says that the French presidential election result shows that “democracy is alive and well”.