French Elections: Sarkozy vs. Royal for “le Second Tour”

The next president of France “will either be a center-right Atlanticist who wants [the French] to work more and pay fewer taxes or a woman with a leftist economic program and a declared ambition to modernize her Socialist Party,” the International Herald Tribune reports.

The second round of the French campaign, a.k.a. “le second tour,” fought between now and the runoff May 6, promises to be a compelling race.

A key question: for whom will supporters of upstart centrist Francois Bayrou vote in the runoff? Bayrou narrowly missed advancing to the second round of voting, garnering 18.35 percent to Royal’s 20.03 percent and Sarkozy’s 30.49 percent.

Bayrou’s UDP party is now focusing on winning legislative seats in the second round, Le Monde reports. And Le Figaro reports that, at Bayrou headquarters the morning after election night, among the cigarette butts and pizza boxes, Bayrou supporters are already debating which candidate they will back. “The heart of the centrists balances already,” reads the headline.

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