Yesterday was the exciting first round of the presidential elections. It's always exciting because in this first round you can vote for whoever you fancy, knowing that they won't get in. It's a chance to say how you feel.
Thus it was that Marine LePen of the National Front got 18% of the vote. I don't for a moment think that 18% of French people would like to see her as president. The first round is a chance to express how you feel, and 18% feel a certain sympathy for what she says.
Of course, sometimes this backfires, as in 2002 where Jean-Marie LePen beat Lionel Jospin in the first round and thus caused a second round where Chirac got an enormous majority and a perceived mandate to do whatever he wanted...
Anyway, this year the first round went more or less as expected.
Now we take the two front candidates and put them in a head to head. Sarkozy vs Hollande.
And meanwhile the wrangling : Hollande blames Sarkozy for the NF vote, for example... Sarkozy demands three televised debates before the second round. etc...
And the calculators come out. If you tot up the right-wing votes and the left wing votes you should be able to predict more or less accurately who will get in, the accuracy of this dented by parties that are not really right or left and by personal preference... the rather acetic Sarkozy versus the jovial Hollande..
For my part I still think Sarkozy will win.