On April 22, France will conduct the first round of its presidential election. Nicolas Sarkozy who is relatively pro-American and probably less statist than past French leaders leads in the polls, but a substantial percentage of voters appear to be undecided. No candidate is expected to obtain more than 50 percent of the vote, so expect a run-off.
If Sarkozy finishes first, he’ll be hoping that Socialist Segolene Royal finishes second. Otherwise, he’d probably face Francois Bayrou, a centrist candidate with wider appeal than Royal. Right now, the polls show Royal slightly ahead of Bayrou.
Although Sarkozy comes from the ruling party, he’s long been at odds with its leader, current president Jacques Chirac. However, Chirac has endorsed Sarkozy, leading to speculation that the candidate promised, if elected, to prevent prosecution of the incumbent. That could be accomplished by setting a 10-year limit on the time a judge has to close a case. In Chirac’s case, such a rule would be unfair because, as president, he has been protected from prosecution for more than ten years. But whether Sarkozy actually made this promise is anyone’s guess.
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