My Gay Paris: How will the gays vote in French presidential elections?

With the French presidential elections to be held in April 2012, the question on eveyone’s mind is who will be able to best seduce the gay electorate. The gay population is at its highest yet estimates at 3.2 million in France and with the polls suggesting that the elections could be very close, at least in the first round, the gay electorate representing 6.5% could be key in the upcoming elections.

GAYS = SURE VOTE

A recent opinion poll conducted by IFOP , revealed that gay voters were more sure of whom they would vote for when compared to their hetero counterparts 61% to 54%. The same poll revealed that gays are more likely to vote for a left wing candidate rather than a right wing candidate. 53% will most likely vote for a left wing candidate, 10% for a centrist candidate with the remainding 37% expected to support a right candidate.  But with 16 candidates already declared in the race, the seduction process has already started.

CANDIDATES

The main issues put forward by this election are adoption rights for gays and  gay marriage. These two issues have been discussed by all the candidates and even some candidates are said to be changing their original hardcore views in order to woo gay voters.

Dominique de Villepin former right-wing conservative Prime Minister and rival of current President Nicolas Sarkozy has stated that he is in support of both adoption and gay marriage. This is echoed by left-wing candidates such as election favourite, the socialist candidate François Holland as well as the rising star of the left wing and former socialist government minister Jean Luc Melunchon who is representing the tradional communist party in a coalition of the far right.

Centrist candidate François Bayrou is more hesitant on the question of gay marriage. Mr Bayrou, a former education minister and who placed third in the 2007 elections behind current president Nicolas Sarkozy and gay icon Segolene Royal, said that while he favours more rights for gays, he is prepared to support a civil union with more rights than the current PACS ( a civil union between two people in France) but that he was not prepared to call this union a “mariage”.

Far right candidate Marine Le Pen expected to be in a dead heat with Sarkozy and Holland for the top two spot is clearly against gay marriage in an attempt to please the more hardcore catholic voters. Other candidates such as Christian Boutin of the Christian Democratic party are stronly opposed to both gay marriage and adoption rights for gays.

POLITICIANS COMING OUT

In recent years, more and more politicians have been coming out of the closet. Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe came out as far back as 1998. Govermment state minister Roger Karoutchi came out in 2009.  In 2011, Bruno Julliard (photo) former president of the student union that led a shutdown in France in 2005 against a youth employment project (CPE) announced his coming out in August 2011. Others such as Frederic Mitterand have spoken about their homosexuality openly.

With the new Prime Minister of Belgium Elio Di Rupo , more and more politicians are realising that what used to be an handicap of the past, could become an advantage of the future.

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