ForumTouchy Subjects ► French elections, run-off voting
France has just had the first round of its two-round Presidential elections.

In the first round, you get all the choices, in this case twelve. You're free to pick who you genuinely support, without having to worry about vote splitting. After the first round, the top two candidates proceed to the second round, where voters pick between them.

In this case, the top two candidates received 27% and 23%. Now the other half of the country who voted for smaller candidates have to choose which of the two biggest candidates they prefer. Pollsters predict a 51/49 split between two candidates, Macron and Le Pen, who are quite distinct.

This system gives more room for choice and change. The two parties who traditionally dominated French politics have disappeared in the last couple of elections. Whilst it's impossible to imagine a US election without Republicans and Democrats, or a UK election without Labour and Conservatives, that's what's happening in France nowadays.

Is this a good system? Is there a trade-off between democracy and stability? Can there be too much choice?
It's not as bad as the system here in the US, but I still prefer MMP or STV.
Runoff elections are good and more places should use them
If I understand correctly, there still is a risk of vote splitting in the first round.

For the sake of argument, imagine two parties, Yellow and Purple. Yellow has about 30% popular support, and Purple has about 70%. Yellow puts forward 2 strong candidates, and people who support Yellow policies split down the middle, so each of these two gets 15% of the total vote. Purple puts forward 10 candidates, and again they are about evenly popular, so each end up with about 7% of the total vote. Both Yellow candidates proceed to the general election, and no Purple candidates do.

Obviously, real life is more complicated than this, but it doesn't do away with the need for "strategic voting" in some cases.
Parties only put forward one candidate.

Emmanuel Macron - La République En Marche!
Marine Le Pen - National Rally
Jean-Luc Mélenchon - La France Insoumise
Éric Zemmour - Reconquête
Valérie Pécresse - The Republicans
Yannick Jadot - Europe Ecology – The Greens
Jean Lassalle - Résistons!
Fabien Roussel - French Communist Party
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan - Debout la France
Anne Hidalgo - Socialist Party
Philippe Poutou - New Anticapitalist Party
Nathalie Arthaud - Lutte Ouvrière
Sure, perhaps I over-simplified. But the risk remains that, for example, the Socialist party candidate is siphoning off votes from the French Communist candidate. (If they do not share similar supporters, forgive me, my knowledge of French politics is very low). If you like, you can replace "party" in my post with "general political inclination." (And while the two-faction binary is definitely an oversimplification, I think the concept is transferable to an arbitrary number of factions, and withstands some weakening of faction-affiliation in the model).
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