BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 7 June, 2002, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
France gears up for vote
Election posters line a Paris street
Chirac has told French voters to reject cohabitation
France's political parties are winding up their campaigns ahead of Sunday's general elections, which the right-wing coalition of President Jacques Chirac is widely tipped to win.

Outgoing parliament
Left: 314
Right: 245
No affiliation: 5
Mr Chirac has made much of the need for a parliament of his own political colour, and opinion polls suggest that the French people would also like an end to "cohabitation" - the awkward co-existence between his right-wing presidency and the left-wing parliament.

The most recent opinion polls indicate that his Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP), a coalition uniting three of France's main right-wing parties, could well win 40% of the vote in the first round on 9 June, and at least 50% in the run-off a week later.

But correspondents say the shock results of April's presidential elections, which saw the unanticipated success of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of voting, serve as a reminder that the surveys can sometimes mislead.

Record slate

The record number of candidates standing in this year's election also threatens to spread the vote very thinly in some constituencies, meaning that even the mainstream parties could miss reaching the second round.


Logic would have it that we lose seats in this election

Bertrand Delanoe
Socialist Mayor
Some 8,633 candidates are running in the 577 constituencies - an average of 15 candidates per seat. In Paris, the average is 22 candidates for each of the 21 seats.

Any candidate receiving more than 12.5% of the vote will be able to go through into the runoff, creating the so-called "triangular" votes - where, for example, mainstream left, mainstream right and far right go through.

Buoyed by its success in the presidential polls, the National Front is hoping to improve on the number of seats its won in the last parliament - one.

The Socialists however are braced for disappointment.

"Logic would have it that we lose seats in this election," said Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe.

Law and Order

Despite a sound record of achievements in government, the left has come across as leaderless since Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's departure from the helm.

Some observers even feel it would be to the Socialists' advantage to stay out of power for the next legislative term, avoid the series of tricky and unpopular issues that lie ahead of the next government and work out a new identity.

Correspondents say that the left's main hope is that the right-wing vote will be split between far-right and UMP candidates, allowing their candidates to slip through.

The UMP hopes that its commitment to law and order - an issue widely believed to have fuelled support for Mr Le Pen in April's presidential elections - will persuade those voters who veer towards the far-right to throw their weight behind UMP candidates.

The cabinet appointed by Mr Chirac after Mr Jospin's resignation has pledged to spend billions of euros on new crime taskforces if elected, and has already approved the use of rubber bullets by police officers.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Janet Barrie
"There is far more interest in the football"

Key stories

Background

Profiles

TALKING POINT
See also:

05 Jun 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes