Final polls showed Hollande narrowly ahead of conservative Sarkozy for Sunday's first round and comfortably winning the May 6 runoff to become France's first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.They say they don't want to be like us uncouth Americans, yet they are...
The prospect of record abstention loomed over Sunday's ballot, with many people complaining that none of the candidates appealed to them.
Under the banner "They Don't Represent Us", hundreds of young demonstrators marched through Paris.
"Not one of the candidate appears credible to me. Politics is controlled by finance," Duncan, a 19-year-old student, told Reuters as the protest converged on the stock exchange.
On the otherwise quiet streets of the capital, many passersby expressed frustration that mainstream candidates had not focused on the main challenges facing the euro zone's second largest economy, such as unemployment running at a 12-year high.
"The campaign has not been serious enough. The important issues have not been discussed," said Frederic Le Fevre, a self-employed businessman. "They've focused on childish arguments, throwing blame at each other."
Candidates argued for weeks about halal meat and the cost of a driving license. Even the leading contenders tried to win the limelight with largely symbolic proposals, like Hollande's plan to scrap the word "race" from the constitution and Sarkozy's offer to bring monthly pension payments forward by eight days.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Over in France, Sarkozy appears to be in trouble. But it's not just about him: