Throughout France’s stormy presidential election campaign both main candidates used one word as leitmotif. The word is la nation (nation).
Outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy claimed that the election would decide the fate of the “French nation”. In contrast, Socialist challenger Francois Hollande insisted that Sarkozy was using nationalism as bait for the radical right wing of the electorate.
A leading French commentator dubbed the election “ a referendum on French identity”.