SO in case you aren’t aware, 2012 is an election year in France as well, a presidential election year that is and I would just like to tell you about some of the differences I have noticed between the election year here and the election year in the U.S.
The first thing is that the elections are significantly shorter in France (this probably has something to do with the difference in size of the two countries). There are actually two days of voting and the second of the two will take place in May 2012 and then it will be over and France will have its “new” president.
Secondly, like I mentioned above there are two votes. The first one which is April 22, is like an eliminatory round. The people can vote for whichever candidate they want. Then, if I have understood correctly, that vote determines the two main candidates and on the second voting day, May 6, the people vote between the two.
Another thing that surprised me was the number of candidates… in total there are 14, yes 14 candidates who are currently running. Of course I haven’t heard much about every single one of them. The big candidates are: Nicolas Sarkozy (France’s current president), François Hollande the socialist candidate, and Marine Le Pen representing the “Front National” or the extreme right, so I’ve been told. These are the ones that are the most talked about on the T.V. and the radio.
Then there is the absence of campagne commercials that bash the other candidates, which I must admit is refreshing. However, that is probably due to the fact that the official campaign has not yet started as the official dates are April 9- April 20. I’m looking forward to see if the campaign will be similar.
What surprised me was that coming into this election, President Sarkozy was not automatically considered to be a candidate like Barak Obama is automatically considered to be the candidate for the democratic party this year. In fact, Sarkozy had to declare himself a candidate which he didn’t do until rather recently.
Lastly, the U.S. elections are followed by the national news here so it’s not an odd occurrence to see one of the GOP candidate’s face to pop up on the T.V. screen every now and then. Just today during lunch Rick Santorum showed up. It’s interesting because I can’t honestly say that when I’m at home I really follow the elections in other countries on the news or at all for that matter.
Enjoy the sunshine!