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there is a pattern in French presidential elections that has practically never been broken where ONE of the favorites doesn't make it to the 2nd run.

You're leaving me scratching my head there. Who -- beyond Jospin in 2002, obviously -- are the "favourites" who didn't make it to Round Two?

I expect you'll say Balladur in 1995, but Chirac was all the same the leader of the main party and the natural candidate of the right. And in elections before that? Chirac-Mitterand 1988, Giscard-Mitterand 1981, Giscard-Mitterand 1974... You'd have to go back to 1969 and say that it was a surprise Jacques Duclos didn't make it to the second round, which is arguable.

If there's a pattern, it seems to me one in which the leaders of the two main left-right blocs end up in Round Two. That was why 2002 was such a bombshell.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 11:46:19 AM EST
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2002 was a bombshell because Le Pen made it to the 2nd round. If Jospin had been upset by a nother candidate from the left, or Chirac by one from the right, it wouldn't have been nearly as momentous (and would have been ignored outseide France).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 11:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the fact that it was Le Pen made it momentous, but my point is that there is not generally "another" candidate from the left or right who risks upsetting the apple-cart in a French presidential.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 11:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you forget Rocard, Barre, Chaban-Delmas to name some. All those were media/poll favorites and got "played out". It's true that the system favorizes an endgame right/left, but there are plenty of booby-traps in the 1st round. Now the two main candidates seem to have cristallized, but you only ned a convenient "scandal" to reshuffle the cards.
by oldfrog on Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 03:28:29 PM EST
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Barre and Chaban were candidates, true, but they were not "favourites" at the time of the election. As for Rocard, however good his approval polls at one time in his career, he was never a candidate (unless I'm much mistaken).

This seems to me like a fairly standard political game. Of course, as you say, a "scandal" could change things. That's true, though, of any election anywhere.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 04:36:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not favourites ?

En 1988, il est candidat à l'élection présidentielle et obtient 16,5 % des voix au premier tour. Donné favori par beaucoup de sondage quelques mois avant l'élection y compris devant Francois Mitterand, il est victime d'une véritable entreprise de démolition de la part du camp de Jacques Chirac et notamment de son lieutenant,Charles Pasqua. Il est à noter que beaucoup plus tard, François Mitterrand rendra hommage à Raymond Barre en le qualifiant de "véritable homme d'Etat". Il restera pour beaucoup "un homme carré dans un corps rond" mais certains commentateurs avisés de la vie politique française estiment que "la France avait raté Barre".

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Barre

Plusieurs fois ministre sous la Quatrième République, il devient Premier ministre sous le mandat de Georges Pompidou de 1969 à 1972. Il est contraint à la démission par le président, qui n'apprécie ni son projet de « Nouvelle société », trop progressiste, ni la maladresse de son Premier ministre[1], qui a utilisé un moyen alors légal de ne pas payer d'impôt sur le revenu. Le Canard enchaîné, après avoir publié ses feuilles d'impôt singulièrement réduites par l'avoir fiscal, publie au début de 1972[2] une feuille entièrement vierge, toujours grâce à ce procédé.[3]. La conjuration fut montée par le tandem sulfureux, Marie-France Garaud et Pierre Juillet qui jouaient un rôle d'éminence grise auprès du Président Pompidou.

Jacques Chaban-Delmas est candidat aux élections présidentielles de 1974. Lâché par Jacques Chirac, il voit rapidement ses chances s'effondrer dans les sondages pendant la campagne du premier tour ; Françoise Giroud, qui soutient François Mitterrand, dédaigne de l'attaquer et lui réserve ce mot d'une rare cruauté : « On ne tire pas sur une ambulance » ; en définitive, il est largement distancé par Valéry Giscard d'Estaing en faveur duquel il doit se désister. Sa défaite entraîna la naissance du cruel néologisme « chabaniser ».

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaban-Delmas
(the mother of all swiftboatings)

Rocard is a more or less bad example. He could have become a good President if he hadn't been outmanoeuvred by Mitterand.

so adding Balladur and Jospin you have at least 4 of them. I'm sorry but French political pundits argue that
the current situation with "2 absolute favourites before the 2nd run" is rather unique. Only the fact that Le Pen doesn't get his signatures, can put Bayrou in a complete different situation. His actual score is 10%. But should he make 16% in the coming month, the fate of the 2nd run is completely uncertain.

by oldfrog on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 09:42:06 PM EST
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