France,  Greece

Another Election Open Thread

As the London mayoral election thread ages towards almost half a week, many regulars on political blogs will be losing interest and looking for a more topical subject to discuss.

Today France and Greece are going to the polls in presidential and parliamentary elections respectively.

The first round of the French presidential elections saw a turn-out of some 80% with the second round expected to be higher (compared to one of 38% in the London mayoral election). The two candidates passed to the second round, socialist Francois Hollande and centre-right Nicholas Sarkozy both received under 29% of the cast vote; although the former was more than two points ahead of the latter, virtually unheard of for an challenger to an incumbent French President.

Hollande’s lead has remained since then, with a vital boost to Sarkozy’s campaign not materializing when Marine le Pen announced her intention to void her ballot and not call for the 18% who voted for her National Front to gift him their votes.

In contrast, Hollande is expected to benefit from many of the 12% who voted for Left Front candidate, Jean Luc Mélenchon; and not even a petulant, self-pitying outburst from shamed formerly presumed socialist candidate and now non diplomatically immune, Dominic Strauss-Kahn has dented support.

In Greece, it is being hoped that the departure of one half of Merkozy will reduce pressure of anti-austerity and bailout conditions placed on their country. Centre-left Pasok and centre-right New Democracy had governed in coalition since George Papandraou’s ill-conceived efforts to renegotiate in November.

Both these parties are expected to be hit in the polls, with no one or even two parties being able to command a majority. And with such uncertainty comes opportunities for neo-Nazis such as Golden Dawn which leave Laos in the shade for sheer toxicity, and just cannot suppress Nazi salutes in front of camera or carrying-out violent attacks on immigrants.