Sunday, April 22, 2007
French Elections News. posted by Richard SeymourFirst of all, the turnout is much higher than it was last time round at approximately 84%. Secondly, the voting estimates are as follows:
1. Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP) 29,4 %
2. Ségolène Royal (PS) 26,2 %
3. François Bayrou (UDF) 18,6 %
4. Jean-Marie Le Pen (FN) 10,8 %
5. Olivier Besancenot (LCR) 4,7 %
6. Marie-George Buffet (PC) 2,1 %
7. Philippe de Villiers (MPF) 2,5 %
8. Arlette Laguiller (LO) 1,5%
9. José Bové (Alter) 1 %
10. Dominique Voynet (Verts) 1,6 %
11. Gérard Schivardi (PT) 0,4 %
12. Frédéric Nihous (CPNT) 1,2 %
Actually, as I write, I've seen a new list of estimates on the Wikipedia site, which puts Besancenot's vote slightly higher at 5.4%, enough to entitle the LCR to a substantial sum of money to organise with, no bad thing. But unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn't link to a source for its estimate, so I'll stick with the conservative assumptions of the Temps report.
It means a strong vote for Sarkozy, who probably picked up a number of Le Pen voters. Bayrou will not make the second round on this estimate despite getting almost a fifth of the vote and beating Le Pen (against the expectations of some polls), so one can only hope that his votes tend toward Royal, because Sarkozy is fucking menace. However, look at the splintered far left vote! Besancenot is a mere whisker from the 5% threshold, but if there had been a unity candidate for the left-of-left, perhaps with Bove an early leader, their results would have been very sizeable, and probably much higher than their combined votes here, which amounts to 11.3% (including the Greens) or 9.7% (excluding the Greens). It's a strong show of support for the radical and revolutionary left, and Besancenot's vote does him great credit, but it's also a terribly wasted opportunity. A united anti-liberal left getting a strong vote could have produced the groundwork for a new alignment and a new alliance in French politics.
42.7% of the votes went to the right if my calculation is correct (I'm not including the CPNT because I can't tell what their politics are), 18.6% voted for the centrist candidate, and 37.5% voted for the left. The main reason the centrist vote is so strong, I suspect, is because the PS practically threw away their campaign. Not only because Royal was 'gaffe-prone', but also because she offered practically nothing distinctive. Bayrou positioned himself as a "Clintonian" supporting Third Way politics, and a renegotiated EU Treaty, while opposing the Iraq war. Royal is a self-declared Blairite, supporting Third Way politics, and a renegotiated EU Treaty, while opposing the Iraq war. Sarkozy is for tough anti-crime policies, a renegotiated EU Treaty, and 'family values', and so is Royal.
The sight of senior PS right-wingers advocating a PS-UDF coalition, repeatedly, despite official denials from Royal, is indicative of how much head-way Bayrou was able to make with left-voters by positioning himself as a critic of the immigrant-bashing, racist rhetoric and anti-civil-libertarian politics, while the Royal camp was extremely timid on all of those points. If the aim was to create a Blairite centre-left electoral coalition, it has not succeeded. On the other hand, Sarkozy has run a slick campaign with some carefully drip-fed noises to appease the far right (including the eugenicist line that paedophiles and suicides are genetically determined to be that way), and careful cultivation of the UMP electoral base with promises of authoritarian crackdowns on the banlieues.
So, since Bayrou's main beef these days is with the conservatives he was once happy to work with and serve under, one assumes that he will ask his voters to support Royal. PS right-winger and privatiser-in-chief during the last Socialist-led administration is now clumsily appealing to the voters for the losing candidates, emphasising that a vote for Royal would not be merely anti-Sarkozy, but would be a positive vote - for nothing less substantial than 'revival' or a 'house of revival', mind you.