Vincennes vs. La Concorde. Parti socialiste vs. UMP. François Hollande vs. Nicolas Sarkozy. 100, 000 people attending.
The socialist and the outgoing candidate held a rally, just one week before the first round at two important venues of Paris. A way to mobilize the troops and to be in the home straight, in a different style.
At Concorde square, the outgoing president wanted to be serious and called to the “silent majority” to it speak up vis-à-vis the “acting minority”. For Nicolas Sarkozy, the main issue is the following : insisting on the stake for the first round to make the most important result and – why not – be in pole position before the run-off. It’s a psychological stake, the objective is to mobilize the activists, some of them starting to have more and more concerns vis-à-vis a re-election of their champion.
At Vincennes, it was a festive and popular ambiance in spite of a freezing wind and temperatures for April. After a short speech of Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of the capital city, François Hollande delivered his vision of France. For the still frontrunner, it is still important to mobilize his supporters even if the latest opinion polls are encouraging and very positive. In other words, still extending the pressure to put Hollande ahead the next 22nd of April. Indeed, some may consider the socialist candidate is going to be elected and might not go to the poll station, as in 2002.
Five days before the first round, the objective, for Hollande and Sarkozy, was to bare his teeth even if some candidates as Jean-Luc Mélenchon at Marseille – the last Saturday – also proved they were able to mobilize. The aim is political but also strategic insofar as it is showed that his candidacy gets a popular support and this support is going to find a translation in the poll box.
Which explains the importance of the rallies on a media field, especially vis-à-vis voters who are not determined their final choice yet. But such rallies should not really change the situation and the candidates know everything is at skate till the end of the official campaign and even after, till the vote day.