As a reality television series, it’s hard to beat the prime-time adventures of the French presidential election; as endless as the Republican primaries, but racier than Snooki's antics on “Jersey Shore”. This ought to give pause to anyone who is relying on Parisian politics to save the European Union.
To ensure that the Élysée Palace is inhabited occasionally by bigamists (François Mitterand), megalomaniacs (Charles de Gaulle), diamond smugglers (Valéry d’Estaing), or influence peddlers (Jacques Chirac), the presidential electoral system works like this: In the first round on April 22nd, candidates from a diverse number of parties across the spectrum will face off. If none of the candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote (unlikely), a runoff is then held two weeks later, featuring the top two finishers of round one.
In the current cycle, the major candidates are President Nicolas Sarkozy (right of center; best imagined as a tough detective on “Law and Order”), François Hollande (socialist; looks like Seinfeld’s friend George Costanza), Marine Le Pen (far-right nationalist; uses the word deportation as a noun, verb, adjective, and term of endearment), François Beyrou (centrist; keen on the moral purity of centrism), and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (far left; speaks for those whom Le Pen would deport)....MORE