Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Police arrest S. Korea ferry captain for negligence

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

France

Socialist Hollande wins friends on the left and right

©

Text by Ségolène ALLEMANDOU

Latest update : 2012-04-19

Just days before France goes to the polls for the eagerly anticipated first round of the 2012 presidential elections, Socialist party candidate Francois Hollande has been given some high profile endorsements. But will it help him become president?

Francois Hollande has been given some unexpected high profile backing this week in his bid to become the next president of France.

With just four days to go before the first round of voting, the 57 year-old Socialist Party candidate holds a slender lead in the polls over his main rival the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.

And Hollande’s camp has been further boosted by a number of right-wing politicians who have gone on record to profess their intention to vote for the MP for the Correze region.

Various former members of Sarkozy’s government have turned against their former leader and joined dozens of economists and sportsmen this week in declaring their support for Hollande.

Key backing from former Sarkozy allies

Firstly Martin Hirsh, who was tasked with dealing youth and poverty issues between 2007 and 2010, revealed his backing for Hollande followed by Fadela Amara the former secretary of state for urban policy.

Amara told Liberation newspaper she would be voting for Hollande and praised him for his “humour”. Amara said she was “deeply touched” by Hollande’s “humanism”.

Ex-ministers who served alongside Nicolas Sarkozy under former president Jacques Chirac also dug the knife in to the current president by announcing publicly their intention to vote for Hollande this week.

Corinne Lepage, minister for the environment from 1995 to 1997 said she “did not want to see Nicolas Sarkozy reelected” and on Wednesday former minister Azouz Begag issued a thinly veiled personal attack on Sarkozy.

Begag, who was in charge of promoting equal opportunities from 2005 to 2007 told Inter France radio station he would be voting for the “anti bling-bling” Hollande.

The ex-culture minister Jean-Jacques Ailagon was also pictured standing behind the socialist at his campaign rally in Paris on Sunday.

But the icing on the cake came when Jean-Luc Barre, who co-authored Jacques Chirac’s memoirs, revealed to BFMTV that the former president’s apparent joke last year that he would vote for Hollande was not in fact a gag.

“I saw him days ago and he told me he would be voting for Francois Hollande,” Barre said.

Economists on side

Sarkozy has played on voters’ fears of a worsening financial crisis warning them that their country could end being “the next Greece” if he was not re-elected.

Hollande said on Wednesday that he would not endorse the EU finance treaty, championed by Sarkozy, if it does not promote “measures for growth”.

Sarkozy would not therefore have been amused to find that 42 of the country’s top economists wrote an open letter endorsing the recovery plan of Hollande. Laurence Parisot head of the right-leaning employers association MEDEF also went on record saying she agreed with some of Hollande’s ideas.

Another influential group falling in behind Hollande are sportsmen with French daily Le Parisian revealing how 100 figures from across the world of sport, all be it many unknown outside France, were prepared to give their support to the man once derided as a “marshmallow”.

“We did not have to do any lobbying. It was the sportsmen who came to us,” said Pascal Bonnetain, from Hollande’s campaign team.

Little impact

The question is whether any of this high profile support will help Francois Hollande come out on top on Sunday and again in the run-off on May 6.

Eric Bonnet, director of studies at polling agency BVA thinks the deluge of support for Hollande will have minimum impact over voters in Sunday’s first round.

“It may help to reassure centrist voters who feel guilty about voting for the left. This might help them take the plunge,” he said.

“However the effect may be greater felt during the two rounds of voting and could act as a significant force against Nicolas Sarkozy,” Bonnet said. “The president will seek to attract centrist voters by trying to present Hollande as being on the far left. But if Hollande has the support of centrists Sarkozy’s efforts will be wasted.”

Even if the high profile support does not actually help Hollande into the Elysee Palace it all augurs well for his bid to replace Sarkozy, especially with the latest opinion polls making him the clear favourite to win the second vote on May 6.

But for political scientist Bonnet it is not yet game, set and match for the Socialist Party candidate.

“If Hollande appears to be the clear-favourite, things could yet change before Sunday as his supporters may be less motivated to actually turn out and vote for him,” Bonnet said.

For his part, Hollande is refusing to get carried away. He told 10,000 supporters at Tuesday night’s rally in the northern town of Lille to “control their euphoria” until the results are in.
 

Date created : 2012-04-18

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    France's youth still on the fence ahead of vote

    Read more

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Former right-wing president Chirac ‘backs Hollande’

    Read more

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Sarkozy’s big speech gets no love from French press

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)