Friday, January 6, 2012

The Signature Scandal

On France2 last night, Marine Le Pen told David Pujadas that she was having trouble collecting the 750 official signatures needed to secure a place on the presidential ballot. She maintained her position despite Pujadas' open skepticism.

One doesn't have to believe in a conspiracy mounted by the Élysée to think that Le Pen might have difficulty collecting signatures. Many a mayor might have perfectly conscientious reasons for refusing to further an FN candidacy. But if the result is to exclude MLP from the ballot, the very legitimacy of the election will be at stake, because the FN candidate is expected to receive around 20% of the first-round vote. You can't exclude 20% of the electorate and call an election legitimate.

In a related vein, there is a report from Thierry Desjardins that Dominique de Villepin has thrown the Élysée into a tizzy by registering at 8% in private polling. This would of course ensure Sarkozy's defeat, as Villepin would likely siphon off old Gaullist and Chiraquien elements of the UMP whose support Sarkozy absolutely requires. What to do? Try to prevent him from gathering enough signatures? Desjardins suggests that such a move is underway. De bonne guerre? Not really. In the end, it may be Villepin who hangs Sarko from a butcher's hook rather than the other way around.

7 comments:

Robert said...

Along these lines, raising the number of required signatures from 100 in 1974 to 750 now also invites questions about the election's legitimacy.

FrédéricLN said...

As far as I know, it's still 500. The number of potential "parrains" is 45000. So we can't have more than 90 candidates ;-)

Arthur Goldhammer said...

MLP said 750 on TV last night.

FrédéricLN said...

She may mean she wants to raise 750 "commitments to sign", in order to be sure that 500 really send the official paper when they receive it?

Anonymous said...

They kept parroting during the previous presidential campaign that signing for a candidate does not mean the guy supports a candidate's ideas, just that he believes that said candidate is representative of a swath of voters.

Mélanie

Anonymous said...

FrédéricLN is correct: the number of signatures is still 500 but candidates need to get as many commitments as possible, as not all élus who commit end up mailing the signature form to the Conseil Constitutionnel. MLP will end up getting her signatures, unless there is a concerted, full court effort on the UMP's part to prevent her from doing so (threatening UMP and divers droite mayors if they sign for her, etc). But if they succeed this will be known, and will boomerang against Sarkozy.

Arun

Cincinna said...

Almost as byzantine and arcane as the system in NY. And just as anti-democratic.