Using a new database of French municipalities that covers 821 towns and 2 elections (2001 and 2008), we examine how the budget structure, degree of electoral competition and the economic context affect the share of votes for the incumbent. We assess the specicities created by the two-round process under French electoral rule (a dual ballot under plurality rule). We show that in the first round of the electoral process, spending on equipment can influence the voter, and that electoral competition has a strong impact on the incumbent's score. In the second round, the incumbent's vote is affected more by national considerations and local budget variables have no effect. We show that the dynamics between the first and the second rounds are intense. The results suggest that the determinants of each round in a two-round electoral process are different.
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