(Early results on ITV.)
The socialists and communists that drove France into the ground for the last twenty years don’t seem to register people are fed up with their inefficiency. So, according to them, it’s actually Chirac’s fault that the far right got such a high score (because he focused his campaign in insecurity, as if it wasn’t a real issue), while the other leftist parties bear responsibility to the Socialist canditate’s lower score. Well, you guys screwed up so much you can’t admit it, right? They never listen (but have a lot of moralistic lessons to give), they’re not going to start on the hot news that they had less votes than ever in recent memory.
Of course Chirac will get a wide majority of votes in the second round, but it’s amazing to see the left not admit they failed. Hard to do when they’ve been rehashing that "France is going better" (yeah right.) Right now on TV they qualify their defeat as "unfair" considering the "hard work" they did and are "proud of." Well at least Jospin acknowledges his personal defeat and will "quit the French political life" after the second round.
It’s also funny to see socialists cry on TV and make grand declarations about democracy, when they repeatedly allied with the Communist Party, starting in the 80’s when it was led by Georges Marchais, a guy who claimed that the USSR had a globally positive track record (un "bilan globablement positif".)
Nobody is complaining about far-left candidates gathering more than 10% of suffrages. For the record, Arlette Laguiller just explained that if Le Pen were elected, people would have to fight this result with "other means" (just try to understand what that means).
For people not familiar with French politics, The Guardian had short profiles about the 16 candidates.