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Palgrave Macmillan

The 2012 French Presidential Elections

The Inevitable Alternation

ISBN 9781137011633
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series French Politics, Society and Culture

The 2012 French Presidential elections marked a watershed moment for the French Left, marking their return to a full term of executive power for the first time since 1981. From early in the campaign, the victory of François Hollande appeared inevitable, given the unpopularity of the Right-wing incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the economic crisis afflicting France. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the lead-up to the Presidential elections, including the political landscape, the candidate selection and the campaign. It looks at how each of the ten candidates set out their policy alternatives, and how the Right in particular failed to present the united front necessary to defeat a coherent Left challenge. It also examines the events and outcomes of the subsequent legislative elections, to understand whether these constituency elections now represent anything more than an early plebiscite for the newly elected president.

Jocelyn Evans is Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds, UK. He has published widely in the fields of French politics, European voting behaviour and the Extreme Right.

Gilles Ivaldi is a Researcher in Political Science with the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the university of Nice, France. His main fields of research include French politics and the study of radical right parties in France and Europe.

1. Introduction
2. Knowns and unknowns: identifying the critical spaces of the 2012 elections
3. Party cooperation and conflict: actors' competitive positioning
4. Candidate selection processes and effects
5. Issues, policy debates and candidate valence
6. Campaign events
7. Polls and VP-functions: forecasting the elections
8. The legislative elections of June 2012
9. Conclusion


"More than a book about elections, Evans and Ivaldi provide here a ranging and insightful analysis of party system dynamics, institutional factors, voting issues and policy debates as they shape electoral competition, and electoral choice, in France today. Through the lens of 2012, the book focuses on the presidential contest and its legislative sequel as critical for understanding wider aspects of the evolving institutional and political culture of the Fifth Republic. A timely and very valuable contribution to French political studies."
James Shields, Professor of French Politics and Modern History, Aston University, UK
"This book is a tour de force. The French elections of 2012 in their complexity are analysed here by Professors Evans and Ivaldi, and portray the intricacies of political competition, personal rivalry, public opinion. The social composition of the contending parties are explained concisely in their political and cultural context. The authors have depicted political France so convincingly 'that he who runs may read."
David Bell, Emeritus Professor of French Government and Politics, Department of Politics and International Studies, UK
"Using an innovative mixed methods approach, Evans and Ivaldi identify and evaluate, in a convincing manner, the structural and conjunctural factors that combined to explain why Hollande was elected President in May 2012 and why the parliamentary election confirmed this result a few weeks later. This is a substantial work."
Alistair Cole, Professor of European Politics, Cardiff School of European Languages, Translation and Politics, Cardiff University, UK
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