As goes the French economy, so goes the reelection chances of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Although Sarkozy leads in round one, polls show that lead is shrinking at a pace that suggests he will not carry round one.
More importantly, Sarkozy is trailing again by double digits in polls for the decisive round two.
For those not familiar with elections in France, round one pits candidates from all the parties against each other on April 22. If no one gets 50%, the top two finishers square off in round two, on May 6.
French president Francois Hollande's term does not end until 2017, but for the first time ever Marine Le Pen's Front National party is on top in head-to-head polling.Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen once shocked France by taking Front National to round two in the 2002 election, but was defeated by incumbent president Jacques Chirac who obtained 82% of the votes.
The euro area’s recovery came close to a halt in the third quarter as German growth slowed, France’s economy unexpectedly shrank and Italy extended its record-long recession.
Gross domestic product in the 17-nation euro area rose 0.1% in the three months through September, cooling from a 0.3% expansion in the second quarter, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 41 economists. Growth in Germany, the region’s largest economy, eased to 0.3% from 0.7%.
France's economy unexpectedly returned to contraction in the third quarter as investment dropped, dealing a new blow to President Francois Hollande's efforts to revive the euro zone's second biggest economy. The 2 trillion euro ($2.7 trillion) economy shrank 0.1 percent in the quarter, slowing sharply from growth of 0.5 percent in the previous three months, the INSEE statistics agency said on Thursday.