The results of the first round of the French presidential elections on 22 April were another sign of the deep political turmoil which sometimes bursts into open struggle and sometimes simmers just under the surface across the whole of Europe. They are a signal of momentous battles to come.
The Socialist Party's François Hollande topped the poll, just ahead of right wing President Nicolas Sarkozy. It is the first time ever that a sitting president has lost in the first round.
The rejection of Sarkozy is welcome. But the biggest winner at the polls was Marine Le Pen for the fascist National Front (FN). She grasped nearly 6.5 million votes, 17.9 percent of the poll.