Time’s up. At midnight tonight, all political campaigning must cease in France ahead of the first round of voting in the presidential elections.
By French law, campaigns always end at midnight the Friday before the election. The reasoning behind this is so that there is one day without campaign-related messages before voters go to the polls.
Article L49 of the French electoral code states:
“From the zero hour, it is prohibited to distribute or have others distribute newsletters, circulars and other documents.”
“From the zero hour, it is also prohibited to diffuse or have diffused by any other type of communication to the public by electronic means any message that would have the characterisitic of electoral propaganda.”
Knowing they would no longer be able to diffuse any more message, candidates made their last appeals to try to reach as many voters as possible before election day.
Close to 9 p.m. tonight, the president-candidate’s campaign team sent out an email that read : “Since the beginning of the campaign, we have helped you mobilize for the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy.”
“This Friday at midnight, according to the law, all the official tools of La France Forte (his website and slogan-‘A Strong France’) will be stopped. This means that you will no longer receive e-mails…. no public event will be published…”
“From midnight on, it will be up to you to take it into your own hands. You have all weekend to convince those in your family, your friends and close ones who are still undecided. Use the articles on the site, the program, and the videos or infographs to change their vote.”
Hollande did not have an official message on his website referring to the end of the campaign at midnight, but he did encourage people to continue campaining for him.
At around 11 p.m. tonight, he posted the following tweet:
“Dear Friends, see you on Sunday, to change the destiny of France!” #22avril #FH2012″
Here’s the original tweet:
Left-Front presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is calling this “blackout” period as a red veillée, or red vigil, in reference to his party’s fire-engine red color. Tonight, he sent out several tweets and posted this note on his official website:
“This note is the last that I am authorized to publish before the first round of the presidential elections. At midnight tonight, the comments will be stopped in order to respect the law. I’m going to miss them! I have read them with great interest every night to get an idea of what you discuss among yourselves and to draw arguments and even formulas. Here, I tell you something I truly feel.”
His ardent supporters, such as user “degorde,” replied to his message with solidarity :
“And so it is.. As you say, hours of waiting and vigil. But even if the vigil is red, it will not be shorter… Because comments have to stop, momentarily. Fortunately, there only one word that has value, and it’s summarized after more than a year until the Porte of Versailles and the announcement that will follow. This word shouted so many times: Resistance! See you soon and good luck. Whatever happens, on Sunday, we will be with you.”
Here’s the original message:
MARINE LE PEN
Front National candidate Marine Le Pen also posted a message on her Facebook page:
” On Sunday, April 22, marine Le Pen will need each of you.
Go vote, and convince those around you, your family, your friends, your colleagues.
Change is perfectly possible if everyone mobilizes. Everything depends on us!
On Sunday, France must count with the voices of everyone!”