calls it a "resounding repudiation" of the government. The "Union for a Presidential Majority" (Chirac's Gaullists) have suffered a "setback beyond what any poll had predicted".
Libé notes that while the government parties had tried to relativate these regional elections by stressing their local dimensions, the Left has been emphatically calling people to come out and vote, apparently hoping to make the elections into a kind of referendum on the conservatives' government record. It succeeded, with a turnout some 2-4% higher than in '98 edging up their scores.
In total, the Socialists and their allies (Greens, Communists, Radicals and "Chevenementists") got 40,5% of the vote, 3-4% more than in the previous regional elections in 1998 and over 4% more than in the national elections two years ago.
The parties that support the government got 34% - only 3% less than in in 1998, but 10% less than in the 2002 national elections; hence Libé's conclusion that the right was "truly routed".
On the far right, the Front National and its minor allies did well, too, with 17-17,5% of the vote, equalling Le Pen's shock score in the first round of the last presidential elections. Thats some 5% more than what they got in 2002's national parliamentary elections.
Some striking results include Prime Minister Raffarin's region, where the Socialist candidate gained 10% on the party's '98 score, winning 46% of the vote.
On the far left there are interesting results, too.
2002's presidential elections were also notable for the mass desertion of the traditional "gauche plurielle" (socialists, communists, greens etc) by far-left voters, who instead fell for the activism of militant Trotskyites (something that directly contributed to Lionel Jospins failure to reach the second round, which then became a contest between the right and the far right). Two competing Trotskyite candidates, from "Workers' Struggle" and the "Communist Revolutionary League" respectively, together drew 10% of the vote back then, while the "mainstream" Communist candidate drew only 3,4%.
This time, the tables were turned. The two Trotskyite parties, long-standing rivals, came with a "counternatural" common list - and were effectively halved, getting no more than 5% of the vote. In some places the common list received fewer votes than what "Workers' Struggle" had gotten on its own in '98. The Communists, on the other hand, won votes almost everywhere it candidated by itself, getting 10% of the vote in Paris and surroundings (Ile-de-France).