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24 hours for the mood, silence and uncertainty

Many political scientists fear that the record of April 21, 2002 (28.4%), the highest level ever recorded for a first round of a presidential election, could be broken, much more than in 2017 (22.2%) already set. not a good vintage. The new element is the high percentage of undecided voters, which according to political scientist Pascal Perrineau creates “not insignificant” uncertainty in the vote.

radio silence

The National Election Campaign Control Commission and the Electoral Commission also called on voters on Friday to “exercise the utmost caution” after the dissemination of text messages that trigger polls that are not polls and “which may constitute misleading information”† Pending the first results, public meetings, the distribution of leaflets and digital propaganda of the candidates have therefore been banned since midnight on Friday evening. Polling stations open at 8 a.m. Sunday and no interviews, polls or estimates are allowed to be released until the results are known.

To account for the time difference, some foreign voters already vote on Saturdays. St-Pierre-et-Miquelon opens the ball at 8pm (midday in mainland France), followed by Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy. Then comes the Pacific, with Polynesia starting to vote at 8 a.m. (8 p.m. in mainland France), Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia. In the Indian Ocean, where the time difference with mainland France is smaller, Réunion will vote at 6 a.m. mainland time on Sunday and Mayotte at 7 a.m.

Break up

“We have experienced a strange campaign that was broken with all the imagination of the presidential elections,” explains Frédéric Dabi, director of Ifop. An “unprecedented” campaign for several reasons: the war in Ukraine that “stunned it”, a “low interest rate” that contrasts with the previous elections, and the absence of “the usual confrontation of projects” between the 12 contending candidates.

“We have a kind of archipelago of debates with small duels”, in particular between the extreme right polemicist Eric Zemmour and the LR candidate Valérie Pécresse or between the rebellious Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the other candidates of the fragmented left, the ecologist Yannick Jadot, the communist Fabien Roussel, the socialist Anne Hidalgo or the Trotskyists Philippe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud. Sovereignist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Béarnais deputy Jean Lassalle deplored a campaign without debate.

“Evoked” Republican Front

To avoid indecision and abstinence, the candidates multiplied in the last week of the campaign: last big meetings, media attention, last excursions. The outgoing president, who has always topped the polls, came late in the campaign, hindered first by the health crisis and then by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He focused on a single major national gathering last Sunday, but gave a boost at the end of the week with several interviews, even making a short spontaneous visit to a market in Neuilly-sur-Seine on Friday.

Marine Le Pen, who made her final trip to Aude on Friday, started an upward momentum after being worried by her far-right rival Eric Zemmour, consolidated in second place and then gradually closed the gap with Emmanuel Macron. Jean-Luc Mélenchon gradually moved up to third place. But political scientists don’t rule out the possibility that a surprise could upset this trifecta in the polls.

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