Monday, December 14, 2015

On the Regional Elections

I wrote an article on the French regiona elections for The American Prospect. I'll have another piece out in The Boston Review later this week.


brent said...

Thorough. interesting, and useful as usual. One question you don't directly address is how both rounds of the regionals taken together would predict the 1st round in 2017, i.e. whether the PS or LR has the honor of facing the FN in the 2nd round. My impression is that in both rounds LR ran well ahead of the PS in total votes (even with adjustments for the PS withdrawals in NPC and PACA). Is a LR/FN showdown therefore the likely scenario in 2017?

You do mention the possibility that Hollands could pick up some 1st round votes by gathering in some far-left elements, but it isn't clear with whom he could even negotiate. Surely not Mélenchon. Would the PC or EELV break ranks and withdraw in favor of Hollande? I think the math makes this his only real chance in the 1st round, but what a huge remaniement and policy redirection it would take. I conclude he's toast, and the real question is whether Sarko decides to fight it out on his right or maneuver to the center.

By the way: You might want to look back at your definition of ni-ni ("... ni-ni strategy (no alliance with either the FN or the PS)"): my sense is that 'ni retrait ni fusion' describes 2 ways of allying with the PS, rather than any opening to the FN.

FrédéricLN said...

Interesting thanks, and balanced; your previous post went to the point.

The strategic issues that the right ("LR") is facing exemplify the situation of the center party in a two round, first past the post system. If you remain large enough, i.e. in the top two, you win at second round. But before that, you are permanently under cross pressure of the two blocks, attacking you as too near of the opposite one, and using that as a pretext to hire the fraction of your party that would be most opposite to the opposite ;-) …

So LR wins thanks to "humanist" endorsement by the parties of the left, but the candidates who rallied specific support were those identified as more committed against islamic threats… including our PS Minister of Defence (whatever his opinions on the topic). Lists led by candidates from center-right UDI performed badly, Juppé's candidate Calmels got an awful result compared to 2010, and chiraquienne Pécresse was likely rescued in Ile-de-France by her opponent Bartolone's accusation that she defended "the whites" (la race blanche).

brent said...

Addendum to previous comment: I see in today's Monde that Cécile Duflot seems to think the time is right for Hollande to veer Left to pick up those votes he needs to beat out LR. Does anyone else think this is possible (either that he would try it, or that it could work)?

bernard said...

Good article. I was under the impression though that Masseret, the eastern renegade, had actually gotten an almost similar share of the popular vote in the second round compared to the first, which suggests that there too, it is first round abstentionists who made the difference.

Now, on to my personal predictions, on this day of December 2015:
- Sarkozy will win the conservative primaries, Juppe is toast as Calmel was toast;
- There will be an additional centre-right candidate, such as Bayrou or, possibly but not very likely Juppe supported by Bayrou;
- EELV will not have a candidate, anyway by now they must be broke financially. They will ask Hulot to run and he will not;
- the far left will run a candidate, but the communist component will not support it;
- as a result Hollande and Le Pen will stand in the second round which Hollande will win.

Art Goldhammer said...

Brent, thanks for the correction, which I have posted to the article. I don't think Hollande can swing left because it would leave him looking like a weathervane, who turns wherever the wind is blowing. He needs to stay the course and show some conviction that it is the right one instead of leaving the defense to Valls and Macron. I think his lack of forthrightness is resented more than his policy choices.

Bernard, you may well be right.