Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Voting Begins

Today is election day in France, the third of a series of three that began with the presidential race last May, and the legislative elections last June. Now it is the turn of the local cities and departments to express, in whatever way is open to them, their satisfaction or their discontent. The most talked-about mayoral races are understandably in the big cities: Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Nice, Bordeaux, among others. Some departments are also electing general councillors, very roughly the equivalent of governors.

The themes that continue to make headlines concern the "test" to which Nicolas Sarkozy, his party and his policies are being put, whether or not the French will protest against him through their votes to such an extent that he becomes virtually discredited as a leader, whether the candidates he has parachuted into various races will be harmed by their connection to him, whether or not those Front National voters who turned away from Jean-Marie Le Pen, placing instead their hopes on Nicolas Sarkozy, will now turn back to the only party that has a discernible nationalist agenda, whether or not Sarkozy will reshuffle his cabinet of ministers after the election is over as so many are predicting despite repeated presidential denials.

I think at this point it's best to just wait for the results of today's first round. Some races will be decided today, but those where there is no clear winner will have to go to the second round next Sunday.



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