France’s presidential election is now a two man race after socialist candidate Francois Hollande won 28% of the vote during the first of two rounds of voting over the weekend, followed by 26% for the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, and 18% for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Hollande and Sarkozy will be the only two names on the ballot to decide who will be France’s next president on May 6th.
In Israel, 80% of French nationals voted in favor of Sarkozy.
Although no official numbers have been announced, French Jews are expected to have voted in favor of Sarkozy as well, according to French artist Ron Agam.
“It’s really very simple, we haven’t seen for 50 years a French president that has been so friendly to Israel,” Agam Said.
Inside France, Jewish voters cast their ballots on a number of key issues, including internal security, their relationship to Israel, and economic conditions.
“I think that Sarkozy was able to communicate a feeling of empathy to the Jewish community unlike any other political leader in France,” Agam told the Algemeiner.
French Jews, including those living in Israel, also considered Sarkozy’s record on Iran when casting their votes.
“It’s extremely important because you have to realize Sarkozy was able to bring Europeans on board with these sanctions and I doubt any other leader would be able to do that as successfully,” Agam said.
Asked about the significance of Marine Le Pen’s showing in the election over the weekend, which garnered a historically high rate of support, Agam said France was in line with the rest of Europe in their discontent for the status quo and their concern for what lies ahead.
“It’s an expression of discontent, an expression of a people that are worried about the future, and she was able to communicate the anxiety and fear, to a degree, that you’re witnessing throughout Europe.”
Hollande is the favorite to win on May 6th according to most reports.
“If Francois [Hollande] wins, he could win by a large margin. If Sarkozy wins, it will be on a very, very tight victory and that’s why it’s important for everybody to vote.”
France’s voter turnout is relatively high compared to the United States, with 80% of registered voters having participated in this weekend’s election.