The EP elections of Sunday June 13 20042 concluded a diffi cult electoral cycle for the French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The ‘strange affair’3 of the 2002 presidential and legislative elections had strongly suggested a French electorate disaffected by the politics of the mainstream, and with a waning appetite for participation in electoral contests per se. On that occasion, the number of abstentions and spoilt or blank voting papers was the highest ever in a presidential contest in the Fifth French Republic, whilst the scattering of first-round votes between presidential candidates of the Left cost the incumbent Prime Minister Lionel Jospin his passage into the second round (by only 0.68 per cent, or 194,000 votes); on the Right, the same phenomenon afforded the President an embarrassingly scant 20 per cent of the votes.4
KeywordsPrime Minister Abstention Rate Socialist Party Legislative Election Electoral Contest
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