Saturday, October 10, 2009

Regional Candidates

The PS will name the candidates who will head its lists in upcoming regional elections. Here are the names:

Samedi 10 octobre, devraient être investis Jacques Bigot (Alsace), Alain Rousset (Aquitaine), René Souchon (Auvergne), Laurent Beauvais (Basse-Normandie), François Patriat (Bourgogne), Jean-Yves Le Drian (Bretagne), François Bonneau (Centre), Jacques Meyer (Champagne-Ardenne), Emmanuelle De Gentili (Corse), Marie-Guitte Dufay (Franche-Comté), Alain Le Vern (Haute-Normandie), Jean-Paul Huchon (Ile-de-France), Jean-Paul Denanot (Limousin), Jean-Pierre Masseret (Lorraine), Martin Malvy (Midi-Pyrénées), Daniel Percheron (Nord-Pas de Calais), Jacques Auxiette (Pays de la Loire), Claude Gewerc (Picardie), Michel Vauzelle (PACA), Ségolène Royal (Poitou-Charentes), Jean-Jack Queyranne (Rhône-Alpes), Victorin Lurel (Guadeloupe) et Léon Jean-Baptiste-Edouard (Guyane).

Now, it's interesting to me how few of these names are well-known (or known at all) at the national level. Not the least of the paradoxes of the PS is its strength at the local level (it controls 18 of 22 regions) and weakness, not to say disintegration, at the national level. One would think that strong regional leaders would also be presences on the national scene. Except for Royal, this is not the case. National leaders double as deputies and mayors but not as regional heads. From a US perspective, where most presidential candidates are drawn from the ranks of senators and governors, this looks very odd. Do any of you political scientists out there have a ready explanation?


Unknown said...

My explanation would be that regions are rather new entities (1982) and so far they wild little power as the 'decentralisation' has not fully happened yet.

The Assemblée and to a lesser extent the Sénat are where it's at!

The 'famous' politician that also seat in Conseil Régionaux are mostly senators who need a local base (élus locaux are the ones who vote for them) but do not have a 'fief'-city. If they can, they'd rather be sénateur-maire or député-maire.

It often happens when a celebrity politician is 'parachuté' and needs a local legitimation. e.g. Jack Lang who lost the Mairie of Blois and needed somewhere to land. He chose the very socialist Région Nord Pas-De-Calais and got a seat in the Conseil Régional. He would show up from time to time in the commission he was heading and would leave 10mn after, hopping on the TGV back to Paris.

But usually they don't want to head the Région because it's a lot of work and exposure for very little political gain. And it would be harder to cumulate with a legislative seat.

Royal's case is a new thing, she was also parachuted but took time to build her local base. Maybe it will be more like that as régions gain more power.

Antonin & Damia said...

Another thing is that there is no press of note at the level of regions : whereas the US has well defined media markets where state politicians can appear on local channels, newspapers, radio station, in France the equivalent media is very rare ; all TV is national, and the "regional" newspapers are localised to the city level, not to the region level. There's no real forum for regional heads to be heard.

Also, a state governor will also rule on all matters, from executions to various bits of local legislation which have much impacts on the daily lives of citizens ; Regions have a much narrower field of activities.