I suppose that one's for me? :P
I'm a centrist... Basically I hate politics because it's always about getting power and trying to keep it. Because you don't become president without ambition, and thus you need ambition (self-centered quality) more than care. Back in '07 I voted for Bayrou and in the final round I just didn't vote at all because I hated both finalists. Today I don't know... I'll probably vote Bayrou again but I don't feel connected to his programme like I was back then. Still, he's the least incapable of all, I'd say. He has a strong following from geeks. We already know who'll be in the final round -- Hollande and Sarko. I'll go and vote for Hollande, even if that means paying more taxes. I know it'll cost me money. I just know I'm ready to pay just to see Sarko ousted and finally brought to justice. He may be a 'funny' guy, but he's done so many abject things in his 5 years, and even before that... It's not like the French are going to forget.
What are the main politics surrounding the elections? Presumably a big topic is the Euro crisis?
Nope. The main topic for a while was this fucking Toulouse shooting. Sarko was trying to make it into a security-oriented campaign, where the right wingers always win. Also, another 'important' topic was a 'scandal' on French school cafeterias in the Paris area *possibly* providing exclusively Halal meat to pupils. I'm not kidding you. This campaign was totally fucked up.
Doesn't matter, though... Hollande has so much more public support that he's bound to win the election either way.
How are both sides trying to capitalise on that? What are the other main topics and are there any topics that are uniquely French?
It's really French only. Nothing interesting, *even* for the French.
As a shift worker I would not be able to vote as I am at work all day and the polls close at 8pm. Does this give the result a right-wing bias?
Actually many people aren't going to vote because they left on holiday yesterday... But the French law allows you to have someone else vote for you as long as you provide an administration paper along with it.
The polls close at 6pm in most areas, 7pm in big cities and 8pm in major cities and most of the Paris region.