The New York Times on the French presidential elections (next Sunday and the runoff is on May 6th) :
Mr. Sarkozy faces an electoral dilemma that is inherently tactical. Presuming he gets through to the runoff on May 6, does he continue to run to the right, or move to the center? And will it make enough of a difference anyway in a nation that admires what he promised five years ago — a “rupture” with the past — but not what he has delivered, which is a stagnant economy and unemployment at its highest level in 12 years?
Even more troubling for Mr. Sarkozy, the polls indicate that many French simply do not like him — his negative ratings are high — and that many of them will vote in the second round for the bland Mr. Hollande or simply stay home rather than see Mr. Sarkozy back in the Élysée Palace for another five years.
“Sarkozy is facing a real problem,” said Christian Malard, a senior analyst for French television. “Historically, when we look at the polls this close to the first round, no one has ever bridged such a big gap and won. He’s had some good ideas, and people say we need to reform this country in a world of ferocious competition. But Sarkozy is paying the price of his behavior, his manner — always in a rush and trying to solve every problem — and the French didn’t like that.”