Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hollande Will Not Negotiate with Mélenchon

François Hollande says that he won't negotiate with Mélenchon between rounds 1 and 2 of the presidential elections. Well, of course not. He's getting all of Mélenchon's votes anyway, but he's been losing ground in the "report des voix" among Bayrou voter, now divided 36/33/31 among Hollande, Sarkozy, and abstention, compared with 44/32/24 2 weeks ago. Is this a sign that Sarkozy's rhetoric--"it's me or chaos," an echo of the 1981 rightist chant "it's Giscard or Russian tanks in the place de la Concorde"--is actually having an effect?

In any case, Hollande seems to be gaining in second-round support from Le Pen voters. A bit strange, given the tepid campaign that Hollande has run. I hesitate to make large generalizations on the basis of error-prone and perhaps inaccurate polling, but could it be that these shifts show that when push comes to shove, Bayrou's supporters have their hearts on the right, even if it means reverting to Sarkozy, while working-class voters who have been drawn to Le Pen still remain moored to the left when it comes to the ultimate choice?

Of course the real question--and what may be giving Bayrou voters pause--is the negotiations that will take place before and during the legislative elections, not between rounds of the presidential. Mélenchon's PCF backers will want some concrete gains in the way of legislative seats and the financial support that goes with them. So they'll be pushing for an accommodation, and Hollande will want as large a majority as he can muster, so he'll be inclined to seek their support wherever it can help.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are normally no negotations at all between two presidential rounds, regardless of the candidates, as there's nothing to negotiate over. Eliminated candidates either endorse or they don't. And Mélenchon has already made it clear that he will support Hollande in round two. Not that it matters one way or the other, as candidates don't control voters anymore. Mélenchon, Le Pen, Bayrou et al voters will vote for whom they please in round two - or maybe not vote - regardless of who their first round candidate endorses or does not endorse.

Arun

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Well, there is always the possibility of a negotiation such as that contemplated, apparently, by Bayrou and Royal in 2007: a dramatic announcement by the candidate still in the race of some important favor to the eliminated candidate in order to attract the latter's voters. If Bayrou had agreed to become Ségo's prime minister, the argument goes, it might have swung the election. Now, Hollande would never make Mélenchon prime minister, but he might say that he would appoint a number of JLM allies to minor ministerial posts. Of course this wouldn't gain him much, since JLM's voters are going to vote for him anyway, so he has little incentive to enter into such a deal.

brent said...

All true, but a Hollande-Mélenchon 'co-habitation' would be one hell of a show!

Anonymous said...

Hollande has no interest in making any commitments before May 6th, except to say that he will appoint a PM of the left, who will then constitute a government of the left. If/when he's elected, the government will be constituted within three days, and which will most certainly include a few Front de Gauche personalities in ministries such as la ville, logement, and jeunesse et des sports (Clémentine Autain and Patrick Braouezec would be good choices). Hollande will also have an interest in appointing a high-profile centrist, e.g. Jean-Louis Bourlanges as Ministre des Affaires Européennes (ça aurait de la gueule...). Assuming the left wins a majority in the legislatives, governing with the FG will indeed be 'one hell of a show'. Hollande will need a centrist alternative.

Arun

Merlin said...

What does that mean:"Having the heart on the right?". Have not we all the heart on the right?

Except those that have the heart on the wrong, that is.

Anonymous said...

Merlin:
Anatomically speaking at least, everyone's heart is on the left.

Politically speaking, in France, most people have their heart on the right, but rejection of Sarkozy's policies AND distrust/contempt for his personality are likely to see a landslide victory for the left, especially since it chose a very moderate candidate.