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2017 vote repeat produces groans, disinterest in France

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

The repeat 2nd round presidential choice of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen appears to have produced a groan of dismay around the country. The latest polls show the two deeply polarizing figures are locked in a dead-heat.

Many wonder who the voters of the losing first round candidates will support - those polls say Marine Le Pen, but by the thinnest of margins.

Abstention is expected to reach a 20-year high of 30 percent. Combined with an expected 15 percent of “protest votes” via blank or purposely damaged ballots, the real turnout may not exceed 55 percent.

France’s traditional parties are humiliated and bankrupt. The conservative candidate says her catastrophic campaign left her personally €5 million in debt, and is begging supporters for donations. The four historical parties of the French left - the Socialists, Communists and the two Trotskyists - attracted just 5 percent of voters combined.

France’s electorate has been re-divided into a “bourgeois bloc” represented by Macron and a “populist bloc” but with sharply different cultural ideas on its left and right.

What’s certain is that a campaign dominated by xenophobia and then the unrest in Ukraine now has to get real about what the two candidates are actually proposing, and their record. For those who have not already tuned out, that appears to be one consolation.

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