© Chappatte - www.globecartoon.com
The French go to the polls Sunday 22 April in a first round of voting for president, with a daunting 10 candidates vying for the job. Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was lagging slightly behind Socialist Francois Hollande in last week’s polls but the two have been running a close race in recent days, each hovering around 26-29 percent, with right-wing Marie Le Pen and left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon each having 16-17 percent, depending on the poll (Wikipedia, polls). Since none appear able to garner the 50 percent necessary to win, the likely scenario now appears to be a Sarkozy-Hollande runoff, with three days of frenzied campaigning left. Le Monde 19 April has published a guide to where the 10 candidates stand on key issues (French). Voice of America provides a straightforward summary of the election in English. (source: GenevaLunch)
The cartoon by Chappatte from The International Herald Tribune shows French president Nicolas Sarkozy begging a bust of Marianne (the national emblem of France) to give him a second chance. The scene takes place in the Elysée Palace, the president's official residence. A Republican Guard looks on.
Sarkozy has been called the "bling-bling president" because of his taste for expensive watches and luxury holidays. However, "with unemployment and economic woes topping voter concerns, he has sought to change from a Rolex-wearing president with a supermodel wife to a more humble, discreetly dressed man listening to the needs of the people". Read more >>
Bling-bling is a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories that are carried, worn or installed, such as cell phones or tooth caps. (source: Wikipedia)
• In France, the Fringe Emerges as a Force (International Herald Tribune)
• From Bling to Diets, Image Shapes French Campaign (ABC News)
• Sarkozy apologises for glitzy 'Bling-Bling' lifestyle and makes desperate plea for France to re-elect him (Mail Online)