Thousands of French-Israeli citizens lined up outside polling stations across Israel
to vote in the first round of France's presidential election. Some 57,000 French citizens residing in Israel are eligible to vote in the race.
A long line of voters stretched outside the French Consulate in Tel Aviv on Sunday. Hundreds of French citizens living in Israel turned up to exercise their democratic right to vote.
Long line outside French Consulate (Photo: Gilad Morag)
Max, a French citizen originally born in Algeria, made aliyah 65 years ago and now lives in Bat Yam. "I vote for Sarkozy
because he's good for the Jews," he told Ynet. "He supported Israel. His understanding of the Israeli issue is important. Sarkozy has Jewish blood."
Charles from Bnei Brak also declared he was voting for Sarkozy. "We're 100% behind Sarkozy. It's what's good for the Jews."
Raanana resident Ami, 37, also said he will be voting for the current French president. "We need to bolster him. The Socialists were never good to the Jews. The elections are important because we as Israelis need friends and Sarkozy has proven that he is one. He's good for the economy too. "
Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni (Photo: EPA)
Valentine, a French exchange student studying politics at the Tel Aviv University presented the average French voter's perspective. "Sarkozy may be good for you Jews but the French voter takes into consideration other things such as immigration, education and the economy. This year the campaigns revolved mainly around the economic side of things."
Meanwhile, in France itself voters were turning out in solid numbers for the first round of the presidential election. President Sarkozy's political career is said to be on the line amid frustration over his personal style and inability to turn around a stagnant French economy.
Socialist candidate Francois Hollande (Photo: EPA)
Sunday's balloting will trim down a list of 10 candidates from across the political spectrum to two finalists for a decisive May 6 runoff, which will set a course for the next five years in this pillar of the European Union.
Polls for months have shown that Sarkozy and Socialist nominee Francois Hollande are likely to make the cut - and suggest Hollande would win the campaign finale.
Sarkozy waved to supporters and apologized to polling station attendants "for the big fuss" as he voted at a high school in posh western Paris along with his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy - and a throng of journalists in tow.