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French regional/cantonal elections

 
 
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2004 01:28 pm
In a test of President Jacques Chirac's conservatives, voters in France's 26 regions have choosing representatives tioday to decide issues ranging from building local schools to running public transport.

The two-round regional elections are widely viewed as a gauge of support for the governing team. The voting is the first since the 2002 presidential race - a showdown between Chirac and extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was blocked by an unprecedented show of unity across the political spectrum.

Representatives of cantons, smaller districts, also were being elected.


The first projections, 15 mins after the last polling stations closed in Ile de France, give a win (40,5%) for the left, whilst the governing right/conservative parties only get about 35%.

About 4% more people went to the ballots than last time - seems, the effect of this similar to that in Spain (and elsewhere): the more go to the polls, the more votes for the left.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2004 03:14 pm
bookmark
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2004 03:25 pm
nimh wrote:
bookmark


That's what I hope - you take over for the night shift :wink:

Well, as far as now -10:23 pm local time, the results seem to point in that direction: the left wins votes, the extrem right doesn't get so many as feared, the conservatives/rights loose (a bit).
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2004 07:13 pm
Well, Libération 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).
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nimh
 
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Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2004 07:31 pm
[edited / expanded the above post]

Libe, of course, is a rather left-wing newspaper, but the conservative Figaro sees the same picture emerge: it calls the elections "a serious shot across the bows" for the right and headlines that the right was "sanctioned".

It should be noted though that the result needs to be confirmed in the second round due next week - and, of course, that these are just regional elections, and that the next national ones are not due until 2007.
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realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2004 08:11 pm
Thank you Walter and nimh. Bedtime for y'all probably. I have no idea how significant these local elections are in French politics... a "finger in the wind" perhaps. Do you know that expression?

NPR this evening spoke with three journalists (from Germany, Great Britain and Poland). Unfortunately I couldn't give the discussion my full attention; I had a passenger who needed to tell me about all of her physical ailments.
They looked back on Spain and its election, of course, but they talked about the attitudes in their own countries towards terrorism, Iraq and Mr Bush.
I thought I heard the Brit (from the Guardian?) suggest that Mr Blair is vulnerable to defeat.
Repeating my disclaimer from parargraph one, I ask either of you whether or why anyone outside of France should care.
Thank you and, nimh, take the time to better secure your space! -johnboy-
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2004 12:51 am
One (for me personally) significant result: the far-right National Front the same level of support as in the 2002 presidential elections - I really fearted, they would be better.

As nimh already said, there's the next round this coming Sunday.
And "BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says that if the trend is confirmed in the second round of voting next Sunday, Mr Raffarin's future could be in doubt".

Well that really could happen, IMHO.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2004 07:09 am
I dunno about that Walter ... a 5% gain compared to the national elections dont sound good to me.

I dont know about regional elections, but I dont think the Front National ever got this much in national elections.

Yes, Le Pen got this much as a presidential candidate (and then a few percent more in the second round), but thats a different animal. Le Pens personal appeal is larger than that of the far right parties. As was demonstrated in 2002, if you compare the presidential and the parliamentary elections back then.

So I dont think this looks very good ... half of what the government parties lost compared to 2002, went to the far right instead of to the left.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2004 07:19 am
Hmmh - I was taking those presidental presidental figures.

However, where else than to the even farer right could half of these losses go?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2004 07:33 am
to the left? that would have been nice ...

otherwise, its just "from the rain into the drizzle", as we say (or vice versa, rather).

sad thing about france now is that the only way the left can clearly win the elections now seems to be if the far right does really well, too.

(i.e., if the left had done as well as it did now, but the chiraqiennes hadnt lost what they did, compared to '02, to the far right, then the result would have been a dead heat between the left-wing allies and the government parties.)

gotta wonder if the price is worth paying ...
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Ning
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2004 07:45 pm
About 40% of the french don't care Rolling Eyes (they didn't vote last week). I don't expect more people this week. Besides 17% of the people vote for the Front National. Our democratie is ill ... Crying or Very sad

I live in Alsace region (at the border with Germany). The leaflets are both in french and alsatian (local german dialect).

There were 2 extreme-right parties : the Front National and L'Alsace d'Abord ("Alsace First") (http://www.alsacedabord.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=15#en). Basicly, Alsace D'Abord is against all non-european immigration (and against Paris aswell of course...) Shocked They got 9.7% of the vote... Fortunatly the Front National and L'Alsace d'Abord are in war so I hope these 2 extreme-right parties will destroy themselves Twisted Evil
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 09:51 am
The 17:00 h numbers show an increase of voters going to the ballots (51,96% today, 50,88% same time last week).
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 11:29 am
Seems that non-voters are even less than last time: Un chiffre d'abstention historiquement bas
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 12:06 pm
20:00 h [poll stations just closed, 5 mins ago] polls say:

49% for the left, 36,5% conservatives/right and 14.5% for the extreme right FN.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 12:46 pm
Seems, the left will win in most of the 22 regions

An updated interactive graphic HERE (> "Enter", than click on the names of the regions)
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 01:17 pm
Very interesting that Marine Le Pen, the daughter and 'heir' of the "famous" Le Pen, only got 10 % in the Île-de-France region.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 03:41 pm
The Socialists with their Communist and Green allies won 49.8% of votes, with the governing conservatives on 37% (extreme right FN: 13%).

The centre-right UMP party has been defeated on all but one of France's 26 regional councils - only Alsace remains in conservative/right hands.

(Headline from Le Monde: La débâcle de la droite)
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 05:37 am
Reaction in British papers (as observed by the Guardian's WRAP):

Quote:
Brandishing a copy of France's most popular sports newspaper, L'Equipe, Jean Pierre Raffarin went to the polls in Poitiers yesterday hoping to capitalise on the Blues' Six Nations victory. Today, after a "disastrous performance" by the centre-right in the country's regional elections, the French PM is tipped for the sack.

"Mr Raffarin's position looked increasingly precarious, despite earlier indications that [Jacques] Chirac was reluctant to remove him," reports the FT. "A high voter turnout and a big swing against the ruling UMP party hit the administration and its commitment to public sector reform." The paper notes that the Spanish left enjoyed a similar resurgence earlier this month.

The National Front's share of the vote fell from 16% to 13%, but the number of supporters remained steady.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 02:14 pm
It is said that Chirac forgot that what the overwhelming mojirity who elected him wanted was to stop Le Pen.

It was a non-written pact between the left and the democratic right, and it seems Chirac thought those votes were all his.

I guess this means the end of his tax reform proposal. Am I right?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 02:21 pm
fbaezer wrote:

I guess this means the end of his tax reform proposal. Am I right?


That, a change/rotation in the government, might be no reforms to the pensions system as well ...
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