Monday, April 9, 2007

Official Campaign Begins

Today the official election campaign begins, meaning French regulators switch into overdrive. Instead of paying for political advertisments, all candidates are given a free 45 minutes of airtime on French public TV. This is divided into numerous one to 5 minute videos, which are then randomly played from now until April 20, two days before voting. To ensure fairness, each candidate is guaranteed to appear once per day, but no more than twice per day.

Although this may sound a bit hokey, these TV spots reached 60 million people last election, and likely more this time around. These might not be a measure of "unique" viewers, considering the French population is only just over 60 million itself, but it nonetheless shows the influence that these last few weeks might have. After April 20 the airwaves go down, at least metaphorically speaking. No candidates are allowed to campaign, and worse for us, no polls are allowed to be published! As a consolation, there will be a debate between the two leading candidates after the first round of voting, which, depending on the candidates, leaves plenty to look forward to.

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