Sunday, March 20, 2011


Just a quick reaction: the Socialists have done very well, and the Left, if you add the votes of the PS, Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, and the Front de Gauche, and other parties, has done very well indeed, with a score around 50%. But the turnout was abysmally low, with 63.6% abstentions, the worst in the history of the Fifth Republic. The various rights, which include UMP, renegades from the UMP, and divers droite, are at around 30. And the FN is running 15-17, which is two points ahead of where it was in 2004. A good showing, but not overwhelming, except that the FN will be in the running in numerous constituencies for the second round, and there will be a united left front to block the party of Marine Le Pen.

UPDATE: The abstention rate has been revised to about 55%. The PS got 25 and divers gauche 4.8, which shows little progress in the core of the left vote. EELV had 8.3. The Front de Gauche approx. 9. The UMP got 16, "crypto-UMP" another 6, divers droite 11. The FN has 15.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for aggregating the numbers!

I think that 63% is not the turnout but rather how many people chose not to vote, isn't it?

The first numbers were even worse, they gave us UMP around 15.5% and FN around 14.5%, with the FN present in only 70% districts whereas UMP was present almost everywhere, i.e., the FN had scored better than UMP nationally.

There are about 75 2nd rounds between PS and FN and Copé refuses to call for a "Republican" vote; NKM, Christian Jacob, Wauquiez who called against the FN were lectured; apparently, Buisson's 2012 strategy for Sarkozy is that he should not be perceived as an opponent but 'compatible', hence, no condemning of the FN.

TVs have found a clever way to present things:
there's la droite parlementaire, la gauche parlementaire, and le FN - until then, journalists would say "les partis classiques", as if the FN were characterized as a young, iconoclastic upstart.

The Fn scores are really worrisome in many areas, especially in Martine Aubry's North where the left has lost ground. In Marseille, the Guérini scandal is taking a toll and the EELV candidate refuses to direct her vote toward either candidate as both are equally corrupt in her opinion. François Hollade had made a success in Corrèze the condition for his Primary run, he should thus be free to announce he'll run. Eric Ciotti, the UMP rep who's so close to the FN he could join them, was re-elected in a landslide in Alpes Maritimes. In many places, the 12.5% of registered voters requirement, passed in December to prevent the FN from threatening the UMP, turns into a bad story for UMP itself since only #1 and #2 can compete, i.e, in many cases, the FN, eliminating UMP.

Cincinna said...

    A slip of the pen? Key? 
We are in le Fifth Republic, not the Third. 
   The winner was not Marine le Pen and her neo-Fascist National Front, which only received 15% only 2% more than 2004. 
The winner was clearly the Left. Of course the high score of the Left includes,  apart from the PS,
all the kook Left: Communists, Trotskyites, Ecologists, anti-globilizationists, etc. 
Sarko's score was low, but all the Left together, and they never are, equalled only 48% ... not enough to win. 
The question next Sunday for the final round will be whether the fractured Left will unite around the candidate running against MLP. 
Where the contest is between the UMP (Sarko's party) against MLP, the question becomes more complicated. 
   In the past, the Communists & many others on the Far Left have voted FN. 
  The anti-European, anti-globalization message of MLP is shared by many on the Far Left. They might see that as a greater evil than creeping fascism, which they have never had a problem with in the past. 

Anonymous said...

If you feel like comparing the actual results with what the polls predicted a few days ago...

UMP and allies were supposed to reach 28%....

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Thanks for the corrections, I was writing hastily.

Kirk said...

Oh my, so many things to say...

First, turnout was, as of this morning, 44.8%; so, using the French half-empty way of looking at it, 55.2% of people didn't vote.

Second, why do you add the left-wing extremists with the socialists? Why do people always give a bye to the left-wing loonies, the Trotskyists, the Communists, the wacko "Front de gauche," etc? In what way are they better than the FN?

What I see is this: the socalists got a mere 25%. If you add up their score and "divers gauche," you get 32.5%. If you add up UMP and divers droite, you get 32%. Looks pretty close to me. (Granted, you should probably add the ecologists to the left's side, but if you look simply at parties the numbers are close.)

Anonymous said...

Europe1 this morning announced that turnout didn't reach 38%, with areas as low as 20%, especially in the "quartiers populaires". Of course, without a public annoucements on TV many people didn't even know there was an election and even fewer knew whether their county was on the list of "voting" districts (as half weren't.)

Kirk, I agree that the PS score is very low, but it has renewed its place as a "core" party of the left; the UMP score is worrisome in relation to the FN - it looks like the FN is actually ahead of UMP in many places, something like 70 or 80 where UMP was eliminated from the run-off altogether and as many as 200 where they were close to: since the FN was only present in 70% counties, its actual ratio candidate::2nd round or its percentage based on actual candidates is higher than its official 14.8%. In particular the FN scored big in former lands like Bretagne where it never did before. Clearly, voters on the right chose the FN rather than UMP, sending a message to the president's party. But also to the left: they don't trust Nicolas Sarkozy's party anymore but they don't want the left either.
In my area, which is reliably 60% Left/40% right (at a minimum: some towns are 70/30) UMP got 10% and FN 27%.

As for the "loonies" being better than the FN: they may not be "better" rhetorically speaking, but they ARE less dangerous.
Communists join governments and rule cities and what happens? Nothing.
The FN takes a city and people see book bans, entire subscriptions cancelled ("le monde diplomatique", for example), renaming of city streets (Nelson Mandela replaced by a proponent of forced sterilisation applied to disabled people, for example) antisemitic guest speakers forced upon primary schools, burning mailboxes for political opponents, financial catastrophes and embezzlement, etc. (cf. Vitrolles, Toulon, Marignane..)

Traditionally, French pundits and experts divide parties between those who are okay with the idea of ruling a country, such as PC, PS, Radicaux, EELV, DVG on the left, and NC, UMP, RS, DLR, DVD on the right - in opposition to the parties that don't aim at governing anything, like LO or the NPA (that is, they won't govern anything until the workers' paradise has been established or sth of the kind).
The Front de Gauche is an enigma in that matter: do they want to actually do something beside being a thorn in the PS' side? Invited to join the PS-PC-EELV united-front thing on a barge, Mélenchon refused on account of Besancenot not being invited (regardless of the fact Besancenot would not accept such an invitation.)
The FN seems to have changed tactics in that matter, too, but in the opposite direction. By offering an honorary card to Guéant, MLP was saying something significant about the permeability between their two parties. Chirac's great wall of China between "Republican" right and "proto-fascist" right is no more.

However, I am amused that Marine Le Pen is a radical right conservative and yet she's not married, just "partnered"; her partner, Louis Alliot, had a great showing in Perpignan. I'm trying to think of a Tea Party representative whose constituents would be fine with her being divorced *and* unmarried *and* living in sin with someone. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Sobering numbers:
Abstention is slightly less than announced but still over 50%.
2004, 2008: FN 4-5% =>2011: Close t 15% (with UMP: 17!) = from marginal to 3rd political force.
Bruno Bilde: "On remplace l'UMP" (à Lille)
2004: zero "duel", it was always 3rd - over 100 this time.
6 "2nd round" in 2004, over 200 today.
Average based on its actual presence: 18% (cf. Steeve Briois)
27% of those who didn't vote said that if they'd gone and voted, they'd have chosen the National Front.

Anonymous said...

One more number: the FN arrives first in 39 districts.

Kirk said...

Art, the "abstention rate" wasn't revised; you were citing numbers at 5 pm, which were obviously not final.

Myos: what bothers me is the fact that one you accept that certain extremists are okay, then from a logical point of view you have to accept that pretty much all of them are okay. Yes, the FN is far more evil in their acts than, say, the Communists, but, deep down, they are both presenting vile, totalitarian ideologies.

Because of this acceptance, French politics is full of these extremists, and you get the kind of results in elections that you got yesterday. If the PS, which, it's fair to say, is now the leading party in France, only got 25% of the vote, I find that disturbing. I don't think that people shouldn't be allowed to express their opinions, but how solid could any electoral results be when, in most cases, the final winner gets "pis-aller" votes from those who voted for someone else in the first round? (And that "protest vote" trope is just stupid; people should be voting for who they want to win.)

Cincinna said...

  '... Marine Le Pen is a radical right conservative 

  MLP is not any kind of Conservative, Far Right, Right, or otherwise . American Conservatism is a political philosophy. MLP is a Statist which is the total opposite of Conservative. MLP believes in the power of the State over individual rights & Liberty, government control & has no problem with the soft tyranny of authoritarian government. 
  As for the Tea Party. It is a uniquely American phenomenon. It is NOT a political party, more  a GOTV effort, uniting people around Fiscally Conservative, limited Government issues rather than Social issues. 
  For the record, MLP has been married & divorced twice. 
  According to many political campaign analysts, thus will hurt 
her with more traditional Catholic voters. I am among those who believe that part of the reason Segolene Royal lost, aside from her miserable campaign & terrible performance in debates was that she was not married to the father of her  four children (Francois Hollande)