Who would benefit from a strong but less significant abstention than expected?

After months of atypical campaigning, the outcome looks uncertain in the first round of the presidential election. At 5 p.m., according to Interior Ministry figures, between 24% and 26.5% will be French abstainers.

This refrain is strong. she 4 to 6 points higher than 2017 but still lower than recent polls predicted, and lower than the record for 2002. In other words, unexpected voters finally went to vote, in the context of strong voter hesitation. Who is there to create a surprise in the results?

Presidency: turnout 65% at 5 p.m., down from 2017 and 2012

Participation rate is 65% at 5 pm.

At 5:00 pm, turnout was 65%, or 4.4 points lower than in 2017 (69.42%) and 5.5 from 2012 (70.59). However, it is significantly higher than 2002 (58.45%), a record year for abstentions in the first round of a presidential election.

Recent polls released during the week promised 25-28% of the vote for outgoing President Emmanuel Macron, 21.5-24% for the far-right (RN) candidate and 16-18% for Insoumis Jean-Luc Mélenchon – the latter two were in the lead Continuing at the end of the campaign.

A verdict is expected at 8 pm.

On this sunny Sunday across the country, some 48.7 million voters are choosing among 12 candidates for the Elysee membership. The verdict is expected to be issued at the polling stations at 8:00 pm, according to first estimates from the polling institutes.

In Les Minimes, the hometown of singer Claude Nogaro near downtown Toulouse, a large number of residents are in front of the polling stations.

“We have always voted, and we force our children to vote, otherwise we deprive them of the inheritance!” Pascal Sylvester Baron, 62, the director of education, laughs.

“This year is a bit special, I changed my mind about my vote at the last minute because I’m so worried. I’m also worried about the abstention rate. If people don’t move in the first round after that, it’s too late. A little desperate,” continues the sixty-year-old a year before riding her bike.

On a small project near another polling station, this time in the popular Merrill neighborhood, Lady May, she did not “see the voting point.”

“J’avais toujours voté, mais là je suis vraiment lasse. Qu’est-ce que ça va changer, tout est écrit à l’avance, calculé. Mon vote ne comptera pour rien”, estime la mère de famille de 42 ans , Unemployed.

Polls open: Everything you need to know about the first round of the presidential election

“A right we do not want to lose”

In Marseille, with eyes brimming with pride, Ali Msaidy leaves the polling station at Primary School Saint Charles 2, near the station of the same name, in a popular neighbourhood. He had just put his ballot paper into the ballot box, put it in a classroom decorated with children’s drawings, and then passed through the hall where a large map of France hung. At the age of 53, this is the first time that an accompanying student with a disability (AESH) has been entitled to vote for a presidential election in France, the country in which he has lived for 21 years.

“I struggled for many years to obtain French citizenship. This is the first time I can vote for a presidential election, and it is very important for me to be one of those who choose!” he told AFP. A man born in the Comoros.

In Corsica, an accident occurred at a polling station in Patrimonio (Haute-Corse) where the padlock was sealed with glue on Sunday morning, causing a half-hour delay in opening this morning, AFP reports. In Corse-du-Sud there was no accident but the signs flourished in Propriano Town Hall (tag IFF, I Francese Fora, French abroad) and at the polling stations in Sartène and in the villages of Valle-di-Mezzana and Villanova: this is a stencil of Ivan’s figure Colonna.

In Pantin, in the Paris region, Michel Meunier, 77, a retired former school guard, voted early. “Women struggled with my time to vote, so whichever election I vote for,” she said as she left the bakery.

In the village of Saint-Georges-de-Mons of 2,000 residents in the Puy-de-Dome, voters turned out in droves and crowded into the polling station erected in the town’s small museum.

suspicion

All the candidates cast their votes in the morning, before returning to their campaign headquarters in Paris. Among the contenders who seem far from the second round are the two parties that have dominated French politics for decades, Valérie Pecres (Republic) and Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party).

The mystery remains because, as political scientist Pascal Perino warns, “It is the first election to reach such a rate of hesitant people, who have changed their minds, almost one in two.”

The campaign began at a time when the country suffered from a wave of Covid-19, and the campaign continued against the painful background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, followed by a sharp rise in prices for some products, in particular energy.

Small duels instead of a big debate

At no time was a major topic of the future discussed by all the candidates.

“We have a kind of archipelago of debates with petty duels,” notes pollster Frederic Daby (IFOP), particularly between far-right polemicists Eric Zemmour and Valérie Pecresse or between Jean-Luc Mélenchon and other candidates of a fragmented party. Left, ecologist Yannick Gadot, communist Fabian Roussel, socialist Anne Hidalgo, or Trotskyists Philip Bhutto and Natalie Arthod.

Sovereign politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Bernet’s deputy Jean LaSalle both lamented the campaign without discussion.

The outgoing president, who has always been at the top of the polls, entered the campaign late, first prevented by the health crisis, and then the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. He gave a weekend boost, with so many interviews, that he even made a short impromptu visit to a market in Neuilly-sur-Seine on Friday.

Marine Le Pen also led an atypical campaign, which sought to improve her image and put in the background, in her speeches, her proposals on immigration and Europe, which nonetheless remains as radical as in the past.