Choosing a President

Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy

The political excitement is mounting; for weeks now, the focus has been on the presidential race. A couple of Sundays ago, the first round saw a massive 84% turnout and the two main parties’ candidates came first and second. On the right, for the UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy. On the left, for the PS, Ségolène Royal. So these two top placed candidates (gaining 31% and 26% of the vote respectively) now fight it out in a second round this Sunday.

Opinion polls consistently put Mr Sarkozy ahead by 1-4 points, but the number of declared undecided voters easily outweigh the margin of error in these rather unreliable gauges of public opinion. Last night a televised debate between the two candidates overran by at least half an hour, and showed Mrs. Royal to be rather more aggressive than usual, and Mr. Sarkozy rather more calm. The end result seems to have smoothed the rough edges around each candidate.

As an Englishman in France, I don’t have the right to vote, even though I do pay rather a lot of taxes :-(. You must have French nationality – which I can legitimately claim, being married to a French national – to vote in presidential elections. So I follow the elections full of contradictory emotions. On the one hand, the chosen president will probably have some impact on my professional life, particularly in the case of a win by the right. On the other, since I don’t have the right to vote, my opinion won’t count.

I could perhaps persuade others to vote in one way or the other on Sunday, but here is not the place to cite my political opinion. Even if freedom of speech protects political opinion more than anything else, I think I’ll stick in the undecided camp and leave the French nationals to choose for me.

UPDATE: Surfing around, I just found that Paddy Power are giving 4-1 for Ségolène Royal and 1-7 (or 7-1 on) for Nicolas Sarkozy. The right are clear favourites…


  1. That’s a bit confusing – you can’t vote as you must have French nationality which you have, being married to a French national! Or is it me?

    We voted yesterday in the local elections but I don’t know how your dad voted and he doesn’t know what I did. We could nominate 3 out of 8 candidates. Just could not bring myself to vote Tory after a lifetime’s labour support so did labour after all. Won’t make any difference in our Tory area!

    The Scots were out voting yesterday and their choices were more difficult. They have already counted more than one hundred thousand spoiled papers! Obviously not just me that did not understand the situation.

    Hope the little boy, Yasmina and you are keeping well. Hearing better with my ear now but although I had it microsuctioned to get rid of the wax I am going for an MRI scan just to make sure that this sudden onset deafness is just a result of the catarrh and nothing else.

    Love Mum

  2. fruey

    4/5/2007 at 10:21 am

    Hi Mum,

    Good point about French nationality, although I’m sure any Frenchman would understand. I can legitimately claim French nationality, but until I have a piece of paper to prove it (a French ID card or passport) then it doesn’t matter what I may be able to claim. I’d have to get a mountain of paperwork sorted out in order to get an ID card. Then more paperwork to register to vote, followed by a long wait to receive my voters’ card before I could actually cast a ballot.

    Maybe by the time the 2012 elections come around, if I’m still in France, I’ll have it all sorted out :-).

    In the local elections is there some kind of preferred candidate system now in place? Or do you vote for local / regional candidates at the same time?

    Nice to hear you’re hearing better ;-). Good luck with the MRI scan, super high tech stuff.


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    5/5/2007 at 10:49 pm

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  4. fruey

    6/5/2007 at 3:02 pm

    Free Speech America,

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    Isn’t freedom of speech enshrined in your consitution (right next to the right to bear arms)?


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