After Marine Le Pen’s attempt at gaining the youth vote, for the upcoming French Presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy is now turning his attention to the potentially powerful voting force, having been focused on security and policing in recent weeks.
The UK and France have both struggled to handle the ever growing numbers of young unemployed and Sarkozy has outlined some measures to deal with this issue, including the creation of a “youth bank” which would provide loans to young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
In France, youth unemployment currently stands at 23%.
Sarkozy exclaimed during his speech in Paris as he was cheered on by students wearing T- shirts labelled “Sarkozy Students”:
“Helping young people to be free, responsible and helping them to realise their dreams, that for me is a policy for young people.”
During the Presidential election campaign, nothing much before now had been said by Sarkozy about youth, compared with Socialist rival François Hollande, who launched his campaign with youth issues at the fore by pledging to create 60,000 new jobs in education for youth as well asslashing charges for companies that take on more young people.
Traditionally young people have voted for Socialist candidates, with 63% voting for the Socialist Party in the last Presidential election.
Other youth initiatives planned include doubling the number of participants in France’s national service programme, as well as making it mandatory for businesses with more than 250 employees to create apprenticeships. Sarkozy, who has steadily gaining ground over the past few weeks, now has a 27% approval rating, while Hollande is on 28%.
Le Pen has maintained her 15% share, although her campaign may gain momentum by her being in the running for the 2012 TIME 100 Poll, where members of the public vote for the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes they think are the most influential people in the world. The results will be revealed on Tuesday, April 17, just before the Presidential elections on April 22nd.
Le Pen was selected as it was claimed her campaign “has changed French politics”, and suggests Sarkozy has copied many of her policies, which just demonstrates how much more acceptable Front National is becoming. The voting on the TIME Poll currently shows 66% feel she should not be on the list; Hollande and Sarkozy are also in the running to be selected with 60% and 64%, respectively, for them not to be entered on the list either.
This article was published on Left Foot Forward