The 2012 French presidential election will be held on 22nd April and 6th May.  Nicolas Sarkozy will be eligible to run for a second  and final term during this election, as a  president can serve a maximum of two five-year terms in office..

Here is a fun description that I recently heard on a CNN newsclip, which  explains in a unique style the French Presidential election this year, by comparing it to a quiche!

Imagine that you are preparing to cook two quiches and that each one represents one of the two  rounds of the French presidential election.

The first one will of course contain all the main ingredients, along with dozens  of other possibilities to be selected and thrown in. The quiche will be prepared in advance and cooked on the day of the first voting round on April 22nd 2012.

In this first quiche, I will put  onions, to represent the conservative Sarkozy, because his  austerity programme might well make you want to cry.

Another main ingredient, bacon, might represent François Hollande’s socialist party as he could be said to be fattening up social programmes.

A third ingredient might be stringy cheese representing  Francois Bayrou, middle of the road and apparently wanting to please everyone.

Finally, a few hot peppers could represent  Marine Le Penn, National Front, extreme right, and hot enough to leave the taste buds smarting.

There will also be  at least ten  other ingredients, representing all political flavours, but the final mixture  depends on  France’s mayors and politicians. Why? Because each candidate must get 500 of these mayors and politicians to sign their petitions if they want to make it into the first quiche.

So far, some of the main parties have had difficulty getting enough signatures to enter into the first quiche, including Marine Le Penn whose extreme right wing politics may be considered a little too hot for the appetites of many politicians.

So, the first quiche goes into the oven on April 22nd and voters have all day to throw in the ingredients that they like.

In past elections, people have said that French voters vote with their hearts in the first round and their heads in the second round.

In fact, it is only when this first quiche is fully cooked that we will know which two ingredients have come out on top. These will  go into the second quiche, bearing in mind that it unusual for only one ingredient to rise to the top, (acquire an absolute majority of votes) but if this were to happen, the race would be over.

At present, all the public opinion polls indicate that onions and bacon will come out on top but close third is hot pepper. Stringy cheese could surprise us as it might appeal to the people who are tired of onions and bacon and a little worried about the effect that hot peppers might have on their stomach the morning after.

Assuming that onions and bacon are the two main ingredients to rise to the top in the first quiche, they will then be put into the second quiche on May 6th…… and only then will be get a taste of what the future of France is to be.

Some simple election facts without the quiche!

Voters must be French citizens aged 18 or over.

The election nearly always has two rounds because it is very unusual for any candidate to win an absolute majority, of 50 per cent of the vote plus one. Although this has never actually happened,  Charles de Gaulle came the closest in 1965, when he won  44 per cent in the first round.

Elections are always held on Sundays.

After the election, the new president will be sworn in, and live (or continue to live) in the Elysée Palace in Paris.  In June, French voters will again go to the polls, this time to elect deputies (equivalent to members of parliament) which should in theory give the new president the majority he needs in Parliament ( l’Assemblée nationale)

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