Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
But you ignore how the french system, actually works: because you need as a rule two rounds, in the first round everybody can indulge his political inclinations fully. Here is the place to show your purity or make a protest or a symbolic vote.
More neutrally, you can vote your first preference.

In the second round then there is place for pragmatism and the voting for the lesser evil. And indeed:

Nicolas Sarkozy UMP    18,983,138    53.06%
Ségolène Royal    PS    16,790,440    46.94%

As you can see, Royal had no problems to gather the left and also got some voters from UDF or FN. Wasn't enough, but would the second round really been different if Royal got 31% in the first round like Sarkozy?

And the same game is played in parliamentary elections, but here in some constituencies the green or communist candidate will make it to the second round and then expect the socialist voters to vote for him. Mostly works.

I won't claim that  this is a perfect system, but the voters use it competent enough.

by IM on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:55:23 PM EST
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