Perhaps it is simply too much to ask, but the media could help readers understand the dynamic of the unfolding French presidential race if only they would throw in a sentence somewhere near the top of the article about how the French president is actually elected.
Typical is the Telegraph story with the headline that Marine Le Pen “would beat Nicolas Sarkozy” and the subtitle that amplifies, “Marine Le Pen, the French National Front’s new leader, stands to beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of the presidential election next year.”
Somewhere farther down, it does say that “only the top two candidates can reach the second round.” But by then, the reader who even gets that far could be forgiven for concluding that a Le Pen was practically on the verge of becoming the President of the Republic.
For the record, the recent “shock poll” has the three front-runners–Le Pen, Sarkozy, and possible Socialist candidate Martine Aubry–at either 21% or 23%, and the French president has to win a MAJORITY to be elected.
I do not make a lot of predictions on this blog, but I will go out on a limb here: Marine Le Pen is not going to win the presidential election.