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.

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.


France goes to the polls

22 April 2012, 12:23

Paris - More than 44 million French voters were called to the polls on Sunday for the first round of a presidential election that may see the end of Nicolas Sarkozy's turbulent term in office.

Predictions of a high abstention rate and strong protest vote left the outcome uncertain, but all opinion polls point to the right-wing incumbent coming second to his Socialist challenger Francois Hollande.

The two 57-year-old political veterans are thus on course to face each other head-to-head in a May 6 run-off, which will decide who runs what is commonly regarded as the world's fifth greatest power for the next five years.

Voting began on Saturday in France's overseas territories - islands dotting the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans - and was to continue on Sunday in 85 000 polling stations across the country's European mainland. 

In all, ten are in the race, Hollande and Sarkozy being trailed by far-right flag-bearer Marine Le Pen, hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon and veteran centrist Francois Bayrou and a handful of outsiders.


The campaign has run on for months but has yet to inspire much passion, except for a series of mass open-air rallies by supporters of Melenchon, whose Communist-backed Left Front coalition has made a strong breakthrough.

Once the first round is out of the way, Sarkozy and Hollande will face each other in 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.

An average of eight opinion polls conducted on Friday showed Hollande comfortably beating Sarkozy next month by approximately 55% to 45.

The final fortnight is expected to see some bitter exchanges.

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

But there was little sign of such rhetoric on Saturday, as French law prohibits campaigning and opinion polls on the eve of voting.

Voters went about their business without being accosted by pamphleteers, the campaigns' websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds were left without updates and broadcasters had to find other subjects to interview.

Some hints of the campaigns' moods slipped past the censors.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...