Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Down and Out in Paris

For the lefties:

PARIS, April 18, 2007 (AFP) - Four days ahead of the first round of presidential elections, France's political left is facing an awkward realisation: not since nearly 40 years ago has its combined vote been so low in the opinion polls.

While the socialist Segolene Royal can count on around 25 percent of votes on April 22, support for six minor candidates adds up to just ten percent -- an overall of no more than 35 percent for personalities campaigning on the ideas of the left.

The last time the left scored as badly was in the election that followed Charles de Gaulle's resignation in 1969 -- when the combined Communist, Socialist and Trotskyite support came to some 31 percent. That election was won by the right-winger Georges Pompidou.

...."In normal times France leans to the right, but it is generally of the order of 55 percent to 45. If these figures are correct, then it is not just a swing -- it is a tsunami," said Jean-Philippe Roy, politics professor at Tours university in central France.

"In politics there is a concept which we call a 'critical election' -- an election in which the left-right balance makes a dramatic shift and taboos are broken. Nothing is the same again. Maybe we are heading for one here," he said.

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